- Associated Press - Sunday, April 13, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Residents who live near a St. Louis Superfund site are upset about what they see as a lack of effort to bring in minority-owned firms to help with the cleanup.

Asbestos removal is expected to begin within weeks on the Carter Carburetor site in north St. Louis. The Environmental Protection Agency hosted a meeting Thursday in which several residents complained that the general contractors failed to give enough notice to minority-owned firms interested in bidding for cleanup work, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1ndnGLM ) reported.

Residents say they don’t want labor coming from outside the region “while unemployment in this community for African-American men is in the high 30s,” said Yaphett El Amin, the executive director of the minority Construction and Contractors Assistance Center.

EPA reached agreement in July with the owner of the contaminated site. ACF Industries LLC is now primarily responsible for cleanup.

The plant, situated near the old Sportsman’s Park site, employed 3,000 people at its peak. But as the auto industry began making cars and trucks that didn’t use carburetors, the factory work waned. It finally closed in 1984, leaving behind a crumbling, four-story brick structure, as well as other dilapidated buildings and a weed-infested, 10-acre lot.

ACF Industries, headquartered in St. Charles, is developing an action plan to remove carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs from the soil. Also present on the site are toxic solvents from the carburetor manufacturing process known as trichloroethylene, or TCE.

The EPA expects it will approve an asbestos abatement plan submitted by ACF’s contractor, AMEC Environment & Infrastructure Inc., soon. Work could start before the end of the month.

“Over the next few weeks, you’re going to see a lot more activity as we start moving things onto the site,” said Gene Watson, a project manager with AMEC.

Many of the 50 or so people at the meeting asked about what AMEC planned to subcontract out to minority and women-owned contractors.

“We’re not going to set specific goals at this time,” Watson said.

While having ACF pay for the cleanup saves taxpayer money, it also means the company isn’t governed by the same rules for hiring women and minority-owned contractors as a federally funded project would be.

“If it were EPA doing the hiring, it would be different,” agency spokesman Chris Whitley said before the meeting.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide