Are parts of north Birmingham contaminated? That's the question the EPA is trying to figure out.
Monday EPA officials and Congresswoman Terri Sewell toured the Collegeville testing site. The EPA plans to test soil samples at around 1,500 sites in the Collegeville area, testing for possible pollution from several current or former industrial plants in the area.
"I think it's really important we get the testing done as soon as possible so we can get the results and begin the cleanup," Rep. Sewell said Monday.
But the EPA needs a signed access form, which is basically a permission slip, from property owners to do some digging, but the agency only has about 300 of the 1,500 it needs.
"We've been on the ground with crews for the last seven days and we'll continue to be on the ground as long as it takes," said Gwen Keyes-Fleming, the EPA's regional director. "But the Congresswoman is correct, a lot of the pace will be dictated by how quickly we can get these access agreements in."
Each property owner who has soil tested will get the results in two to three months, but the EPA says it needs a thorough sample from this area before it decides what if any cleanup needs to take place.
"I know this process has been a long time coming," Sewell said. "So I want the community to know we're working to do the testing, get the results, and that we do the cleanup."
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