A few dozen people arrived Thursday evening at a Bibb County elementary school to get more information about the state’s newest Superfund site, located near Rocky Creek.
The public information session at Bruce Elementary -- which included representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Armstrong World Industries and state and local health officials -- allowed concerned residents to ask specific questions in an informal atmosphere.
Information posters and packets were set up on tables for the public.
Charles Hayes Jr. said he got an informational brochure in the mail and has been following news of the Superfund site on Armstrong property. He said he’s concerned for his family, his neighbors and members of his church congregation.
“I’m concerned with the water (containing contaminants),” said Hayes, who lives about eight blocks from Allied Industrial Park, where the testing is being conducted. “I need to know what is going on, so people can be advised if they need to have their water tested.”
Billy White, who lives in the Lynwood Estates subdivision, said he lives less than a mile from the site. He has fished at Rocky Creek his entire life and liked taking his 8-year-old son fishing. But when EPA officials came around his neighborhood a few months ago to ask questions and to inform them that eating fish from the creek may not be safe, he stopped.
He said officials who claim that signs have been up near the creek since 1996 warning about possible contaminated fish have been lying.
“There haven’t been signs there nearly that long,” he said. “My son is 8 years old, and I’d hate for someone to tell me that there’s something wrong with him (because of contaminated fish).”
Jane Perry, director of the chemical hazards program for the Georgia Division of Public Health, said her organization will spend the next six months testing the areas for contaminants such as toxic polychlorinated biphenyls -- PCBs -- which are in the landfill but may or may not be in the creek water. She said her agency coordinates with local health agencies and so far hasn’t received many calls about contamination concerns.
Bibb County Commissioner Lonzy Edwards, who attended the information session Thursday, said he’s pleased that Armstrong and the EPA are working to address the issue. But he said he still talks with concerned residents who tell him they are getting sick from the drinking water.
“There are a number of people still on wells out there,” he said. “There’s a concern about a higher number of sick people in south Bibb. Something needs to be checked.”
The Armstrong site is the fourth Middle Georgia location on the Superfund list, also called the National Priorities List. The other sites are at Robins Air Force Base, the Woolfolk Chemical site in Fort Valley and the former Powersville Landfill in Peach County.
For more information, visit the EPA website available at tinyurl.com/armstrongsuperfund.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.