Minden residents feel hope in resolving toxic waste issue

Fayette County

After 40 years, a local town is seeing hope for the treating of contaminants in the soil. 

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the addition of the Shaffer Equipment and the Arbuckle Creek area to the National Priorities List of Superfund Sites. 

Minden resident, Darrell Thomas, has been one of the lead members of a group trying to get their community the help it needs. He said it feels nice to finally see some real change. 

“We’ve been fighting for this a long time, it’s been a long hard battle hopefully something good comes out of it,” Thomas said.

The Superfund program is designed to fund cleanup of sites contaminated by hazardous substances and pollutants. According to the EPA, the two proposed sites contain sediment contaminated by PCB’s, which have spread to residential properties due to frequent flooding in the area.

This has taken a toll on many residents throughout the years, like Annette Coffman, who says it has been really hard on her. 

“You cannot put a price on a life on somebody that’s died here, there have been hundreds of people. I’ve had my own family members die, all of my neighbors have died, there is not a price tag on a life,” Coffman said.

Governor Jim Justice referred the sites to the EPA because of the risks to the residents, but also because of the risk that the contaminants in Arbuckle Creek could flow into the New River Gorge National River. 

The EPA will accept public comments on the proposed listing for 60 days following the publication of the proposal in the federal register on Thursday, September 13.

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