Group alleges AK polluting homesBy Thomas Gnau
Soot collected from Oneida-area homes near AK Steelıs coke
plant ³show the presence of heavy metal contamination,² an
environmental group said Friday.
The compounds found include arsenic, lead, mercury,
manganese, zinc strontium and others, an Ohio Citizen Action
press release said. But activists would not say in what levels
those compounds were found, casting doubt on the significance
of the announcement.
³I feel like we would need to do more testing before we
would release actual levels,² said Karen Arnett, of
Environmental Community Organization, a group allied with Ohio
³Itıs hard to say without any numbers what the effect of
these could be,² said Brad Miller, an area supervisor at
Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services, which
monitors AK for air compliance.
³Ohio Citizen Action hasnıt given us enough information,²
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Andy Thompson
Alan McCoy, AK vice president of public affairs, declined
Three soot samples from the Oneida area collected in
November and December 2001 were tested by a Cincinnati
laboratory, according to Ohio Citizen Action.
Rachael Belz, an area director for OhioCitizenAction,
said Oneida residents often find soot which she contends
comes from AKıs nearby coke plant on house siding, windows
³The interesting thing is you can also find (the material)
inside your home, and thatıs even scarier,² Belz said.
³It gets all over our garage, all over our patio,² said
Nancy Cottle, 55, of 3023 Omaha St. ³In the summertime you
canıt even sit out.²
³Itıs dangerous,² said Ray Agee, 60, of 3009 Navaho St.
³Itıs a health hazard. Iıve found this stuff inside my
Miller, though, cautioned that the material may not come
from ³just AK Steel specifically.²
Belz and the release acknowledged that some of the
compounds ³originate from the steel production.²
³What we found is not completely surprising, but itıs not
something the Ohio EPA has ever done,² Belz said.
Miller said that wasnıt true. His department and the EPA
test monthly for metals emitted from parts of AKıs Middletown
Works, he said.
The testing is performed at nearby Oneida Elementary
School, 2901 Yankee Road, he said.
He also said that some of the compounds the groups say were
found, such as strontium, are not governed by current
Belz said the analysis says nothing about the health of