Fairfax Street Superfund site cleanup efforts get $25K boost

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson helps secure grant for group to hire advisers

By Jonathan Stacey - Meteorologist, Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A high-profile Jacksonville Superfund site will soon be $25,000 closer to cleanup after U.S. Rep. Al Lawson helped secure an Environmental Protection Agency grant for the Fairfax Environmental Committee for Justice, according to Florida Politics

The funding will support the Jacksonville nonprofit in its efforts to hire technical advisers who will examine how best to clean up the former Fairfax Street Wood Treaters site near the Moncrief area.

The EPA has designated thousands of contaminated areas nationwide as Superfund sites as a result of hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open or otherwise improperly managed. These sites include manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills and mining sites.

According to the EPA, from 1980 to 2010, Wood Treaters LLC pressure-treated utility poles, pilings and other lumber products using the preservative chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Wood Treaters LLC filed for bankruptcy, and by July 2010, ceased operations and abandoned the facility.

The EPA said seven above-ground storage tanks, in poor condition, contained high levels of arsenic, chromium and copper, and in August 2010, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection requested the EPA's help in mitigating the release of hazardous substances to the environment.

But despite those efforts, testing in March 2018 showed the soil was still contaminated with arsenic, according to Florida Politics.

The Susie E. Tolbert Elementary School playground is located near a fence line with the site and was one of the focuses of the cleanup, the EPA said.

Lawson told Florida Politics the grant will mean transparency with the environmental cleanup efforts.

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