Did Regulators Fail the Town? continued...
Perry further urges the EPD to take air quality samples in Waycross, pointing out that the nearest air monitoring station is 29 miles away, and it only samples for hazardous contaminants every 2 weeks.
She also says she's concerned that the agency hasn’t tested the soil along the canals that flow south of the CSX facility, the ones that flow right past Lexi’s house.
Samples collected from the bottom of the Waycross canal routinely find concerning chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at levels that are thought to raise a person’s risk of cancer, she points out.
“Because runoff from heavy rainfall on the CSX property can flow south into the Waycross canal, causing potential overflow of the canal, DPH recommends that soil samples be collected … and analyzed for these compounds,” she writes.
In an email, Nancy Nydam, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Public Health, said the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry was reviewing Perry’s recommendations. So far, no additional testing has been done.
Lack of Oversight for Water Department
State officials have also failed to oversee the city’s water department, records show.
City officials say the public water supply is clean. Even if chemicals have been spilled at the surface, the city’s four wells are drilled much deeper underground. The city’s water source -- the Floridan Aquifer -- is protected by a thick layer of dense rock called dolomite, which should keep contaminants out.
But there’s little recent documentation to back up their assertions that the water is clean.
From 2011 to 2013, the state's EPD cited the town because it had no test results for a host of hazardous substances and heavy metals. The city is required to test for those chemicals once every 3 years. The next set of test results for these toxins are due later this year.
In an interview, an EPD spokesperson admitted they forgot to send special bottles to the town for testing.
Between 2006 and 2015, the EPD also missed two inspections in a row of the city’s water department, records show. Under state law, the agency is supposed to conduct these unannounced and rigorous inspections every 3 years.