On Your Side: EPA will host another community meeting in Verona, Mo.

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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VERONA, Mo. (KY3) - Following several On Your Side Investigations, federal government workers are coming in again to meet with the people in Verona.

New government data show that about twenty places in the U.S. stand out as the most toxic regarding industrial air pollution.

One of them is in Lawrence County. People who live near the BCP Ingredients plant in Verona have a greater lifetime risk of getting cancer. It’s twenty-seven times the EPA’s acceptable risk.

In our last report, we told you about a chemical spill that happened there in the spring. The EPA did a surprise inspection about found sixteen deficiencies.

According to an EPA inspection report, the nearly 1,300 pounds of ethylene oxide spill happened when a railcar was emptied into the storage tanks. The leak lasted for seven hours. Some alarms were not working because of flood damage from rains more than one year ago.

Inspectors found a total of sixteen deficiencies. One is the worst-case scenario plan at the plant. The Hazard Assessment should be updated at least every five years. According to the EPA inspector, the latest BCP Hazard Assessment was prepared nearly twenty years ago, in October 2004.

BCP recently responded to the EPA inspection report. The company did not directly respond to the sixteen problem areas, instead listing objections to the EPA’s report.

It reads the EPA’s ‘Information Request is vague, ambiguous, overbroad, unduly burdensome, or beyond the scope of the EPA’s authority. They add that some of the information is privileged or confidential.

Later in the response, BCP adds it does have some safety protocols for emissions. One example they list is that employees wear badges once a quarter and send them off to be tested. They have employees go for yearly health exams to ensure no long-term impacts.

EPA will host the meeting on October 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Verona High School. EPA will provide an update on air monitoring efforts and an update on the Superfund Site.

There will be a question and answer time.

Representatives from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be there too.

BCP is not listed.

EPA News Release:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 will hold a Public Availability Session and Community Meeting at the Verona High School on Wednesday, October 26. The session will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the meeting with a presentation at 7 p.m. Following the presentation by the attending agencies, EPA will facilitate a question-and-answer session until 9 p.m.

“We are following through on our commitment to the city of Verona by bringing together federal, state, and local partners who are vital for protecting public health and the environment,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “EPA and our partner agencies will be available to share information and answer community and individual questions in Verona on October 26.”

At the Public Availability Session, representatives from EPA, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR), Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be available for one-on-one discussions and questions.

The purpose of the session and meeting is to provide an update on EPA’s ongoing community air monitoring efforts, and to allow partner agencies to provide updates on their work regarding the BCP Ingredients Inc. facility in Verona. EPA will also provide an update on the Syntex Facility Superfund Site, the boundary of which encompasses the BCP facility.

The Community Meeting follows a December 2021 Public Meeting where EPA provided an update on air pollution and groundwater contamination in Verona. In 2019, EPA held additional meetings with the city of Verona and general public to inform them about health risks associated with ethylene oxide emissions, and to provide an update on the groundwater investigation at the Syntex Facility Superfund Site.

The meeting will be held:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Public Availability Session: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

(Break from 6:30 to 7 p.m.)

Community Meeting: 7 to 9 p.m.

Both sessions will be held at:

Verona Senior High School

101 E. Ella Street

Verona, Missouri

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