By Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor
Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency assured Ringwood residents that a remediation plan to clean up a 500-acre Superfund site in the area is close at hand.
“We’ve dealt with surface contamination. Now the question is what to do with mine pits where waste was dumped decades ago,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.
The EPA says Ford Motor Company dumped paint sludge and other contaminants into two old mine shafts and land in the Ringwood area back in the 1960s, which wasn’t illegal at the time according to Ford officials. The EPA claims that more than 53,000 tons of waste has been removed from the surface since 2004. But contaminants remain in some areas. And residents, some of whom are Native Americans, believe this is making people sick.
“I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma,”said Ringwood resident Bobby Mann. “My neighbor has lung cancer … It’s in every house here.”
Federal and state health officials have conducted a study and it found that the rate of cancer was not elevated in this area with one exception — lung cancer among males.
Ford Community Relations Representative Jon Holt responded with the following statement: “Health issues have been addressed in a legal case and by Ford and the EPA in reports and studies completed. Based on those reports and studies we believe there are no health impacts of concern.”
A federal panel will review cleanup options by late spring. The final plan will be selected by the end of the year.