MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – The EPA has proposed to add an environmentally contaminated facility to the National Priorities List (NPL) of the nation’s most contaminated sites.
Between 1990 and 2010, Eagles Industries operated as an inspection and repair facility for aircraft oxygen. In 2003, an inspection by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) found the facility was improperly disposing of a chemical compound known as TCE. It’s known to cause cancer with children, women and the elderly at a particular risk.
The facility closed its doors in 2010, roughly seven years after the initial findings.
Scott Thompson, executive director of ODEQ, said it’s not the department’s role to shut down facilities. Instead, they would prefer companies to fix the problems and ensure conditions are in compliance.
“They actually did some cleanup of the source area, but they didn’t get it all completely cleaned up in the contaminated soil and we identified some groundwater contamination,” Thompson said.
As a result of the improper disposal, Thompson said nearby groundwater was threatened. Being added onto the NPL means a chance for federal funding in order to reduce any major health risks associated to the site.
“Communities get healthier and local economies grow when contaminated sites get addressed,” said EPA regional administrator Samuel Coleman. “The people, businesses and environment of Oklahoma will benefit from EPA’s work to clean up the Eagle Industries site.”
Thompson said water wells are currently monitored quarterly and there’s no need for concern, but one resident tells NewsChannel 4 she was not made aware of the contamination when she moved into her home in 2012. Her house sits two doors down from the closed facility.
“I had no idea it went so long since this was an issue. Nobody ever told me about it,” says Debbie Reed. “I would like to know the results as soon as possible, as far as the contamination there is, what they’re going to do about the contamination.”
Nationwide, EPA has added seven sites to the NPL.
Thompson said it could take several months to reach any final decisions on the proposal but a public comment period will be available.