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EPA to Hold a Public Availability Sessions to discuss Closeout Activities at the Perdido Groundwater Contamination Site in Perdido, AL

Release Date: 03/14/2014
Contact Information: James Pinkney, (404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

ATLANTA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold public availability sessions on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in Perdido, AL. The availability sessions will be held throughout the day to provide details to the community about work completion at the Perdido Contaminated Groundwater Site.

The public availability sessions will begin at 9am to 11am, 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm and will be held at the Perdido Fire Department located on HWY 47 in Perdido.

The 110-acre site is located near the intersection of Highways (County Roads) 47 and 61 in Perdido, Alabama, a small town 42 miles northeast of Mobile. Forested areas and residential and commercial development surround the site. The Perdido Elementary and Middle School is located immediately southeast of the site.

In 1965, a train derailment spilled benzene into drainage ditches along Highway 61. Benzene is a common industrial chemical. Because of the spill, an unknown amount of benzene soaked into area ground water. At the time, local residents used ground water as a source of drinking water.

In 1981, the Alabama Department of Public Health (DPH) documented reports of odor problems in residents’ drinking water wells. DPH sampled wells in 1982 and found benzene contamination. In 1983, Baldwin County’s Health Officer recommended that people within one mile of the derailment stop use of their well water for drinking or bathing. This included approximately 250 residents and 300 students at the nearby school. The U.S. National Guard provided two water tanks at a central location and affected residents brought water from the tanks to their homes. At the suggestion of EPA, PRP Seaboard System Railroad (now CSX Transportation) voluntarily provided funds for the construction of a water line extending six miles from the nearby Town of Atmore. The water line connected about 150 Perdido homes within one mile of the derailment to the public water system. The PRP completed the water line in 1983. Also in 1983, EPA listed the site on the NPL.

Community members interested in obtaining additional information are encouraged to contact Angela Miller, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, at (877) 718-3752 or 678-575-8132.

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