CTS Neighbors Watch "Buried Secrets"
A News 13 investigation exposes the story behind a toxic Superfund site in South Asheville. News 13's special report called "Buried Secrets" examined in-depth the EPA's handling of the old CTS site on Mills Gap Road. Nearby residents believe the site made them sick.
The CTS plant did metal-plating and a toxic chemical bi-product called TCE made its way into the groundwater. The plant closed in 1984. An abandoned guard shack and chain-link fence is all that's left now. But it's not what's above ground that's the problem. It's toxic chemicals in the soil and what has not been done about it.
More than 50 CTS neighbors and some former plant workers sat together Monday afternoon at the Skyland Fire Department to watch the special report.
Mary McGraw used to work at the plant.
"You could see all that oily colored stuff, and they were dumping it right out the backside, then they'd concrete over it," said McGraw.
The key concern is that dozens of longtime neighbors believe their families have become seriously ill and that the EPA and politicians have failed to do anything about that.
Tate McQueen is a teacher turned activist. He spearheaded the CTS cleanup from the very beginning.
"59 Hodgkin's lymphoma cases within a mile of the site. This is not how it's gonna be and this is what we're going to fight for until the very end," said McQueen.
He believes "Buried Secrets" may be an educational turning point in an ongoing call to action.
Dot Rice is among those profiled in "Buried Secrets". She suffers from skin cancer and thyroid tumors. Both her husband and granddaughter were diagnosed with brain tumors. She believes what needs to happen now is for lawmakers to pay attention to the one-hour investigative report and hear the story she helped tell.
"I'm hoping that we can get to our congressmen and our representatives and maybe even get to the president. He will see that something needs to be done and should've been done years ago," said Rice.