After several years of community-based environmental monitoring and
ongoing assistance from Global Community Monitor since 2007, the
Claymont Dust Study Team is beginning to see some positive results when
it comes to cleaning up the air. Continued pressure from the community
has pushed the Delaware enforcement officials to announce that a new
pollution control settlement with the polluter is in the works. This
announcement coincides with the release of results from the most recent
phase of the dust study, which shows less dust in the air. There is
still a long way to go to fully protect the health of the community,
but the foundation is being laid.
The community has been at
odds with the Evraz Steel mill for almost a decade. Many community
members believe the plant is responsible for the metallic, abrasive
dust that blankets their neighborhood at night. The dust has been
known to scratch the finish on cars and houses. As far back as 2006,
the Delaware state agency in charge of protecting the environment cited
Evraz for careless pollution. Now, four years later, there is new hope
that the company is ready to make new investments to clean up the plant.
Claymont Community Coalition has been conducting particle monitoring
for several years. They are currently working together with the
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
(DNREC) to conduct a study of the dust in the air. Part of the way
through this phase of monitoring, members of the Dust Study Team are
reporting that there is less dust in the air. "We're hopeful. We're
not seeing as much of the dust as we did before, but we're seeing
different things, including lead and arsenic," says Dee Whildin, a
local community activist.
Despite the positive direction, The
Dust Study Team is quick to warn that there is still a long way to go.
The presence of lead and arsenic in the dust is troubling and the
community will continue to push for cleaner operations at the plant and
increased enforcement from DNREC.
For more information:
Delaware Online (2/22/10) Delware environment: DNREC, steel plant working on accord