The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the “35th Avenue Superfund Site” in north Birmingham to the National Priorities List (NPL). According to the EPA, the site poses “risks to human health and the environment.” The GASP documentary “Toxic City: Birmingham’s Dirty Secret” highlights these northern Birmingham communities and why their clean up should be a national priority.

“Cleaning up hazardous waste sites protects our country’s most vulnerable populations, prevents diseases, increases local property values and facilitates economic restoration of communities across America,” Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, said in the news release.

“By listing a site on the Superfund National Priorities List, we’re taking an important action to protect human health and encourage economic restoration of communities.”

This is an important development in the ongoing fight to reduce air pollution and remediate contamination in Collegeville, Harriman Park, Fairmont and North Birmingham. We recently rebutted an attempt by the Jefferson County Health Department to suggest that the residents of 35207 (the ZIP code containing the Superfund site) aren’t at risk because of their polluted environment.

GASP is currently challenging Drummond Company’s operating permit for ABC Coke in Tarrant, Ala., which is just outside the border of the 35th Avenue Superfund Site. We have also petitioned the EPA to increase air monitoring in Jefferson County and to expand the Superfund Site to include ABC Coke and Tarrant.

“The NPL contains the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites,” the news release explained. “The list serves as the basis for prioritizing both enforcement actions and long-term EPA Superfund cleanup funding; only sites on the NPL are eligible for such funding.”

We’re glad to see that the EPA is taking the issues affecting the communities of north Birmingham seriously. Hopefully, this will lead to greater understanding of the health effects of toxic pollution on the folks living in and near the Superfund site.

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