BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin met with EPA representatives for an update on pollution cleanup at the 35th Avenue Superfund Site.
For years, the EPA has been working to clean various properties and efforts are expected to continue approximately two to three more years.
“There are 1,000 plus people that have been affected by some of the contaminated soil here,” said Woodfin.”
Wednesday, Woodfin announced that neighborhood leaders would have a seat at the table during upcoming meetings with stakeholders about the future.
“They will have a seat at the table for advocacy groups who have been active in the discussion for many years. Our goal is to re-imagine north Birmingham and within that goal is to make sure for those who do stay here to make it vibrant and healthy for those who live here,” said Woodfin.
An advocacy group, Panic, led by resident Charlie Powell has been focused on helping neighbors for years. Powell said Wednesday’s meeting was positive.
“Finally we’ve got a chance for all of us to get together and get basically on the same page and that’s what we’ve been lacking, lack of communication. Now we’ve got good communication going on,” Powell said.
During discussions with the EPA, Woodfin said he focused on remediation, relocation, and redevelopment. He said the city planned to apply for some federal dollars to help with redevelopment, but added that the supply is limited and could be distributed to other Superfund sites.
The city expects the EPA will be able to focus most of its resources helping with remediation. However, help with relocation may not be possible at the federal level, Woodfin said.
“As shared with us, this site does not meet or qualify for the contaminants that pose such a danger where people need to be immediately relocated and so there are no resources from the EPA to address the relocation,” said Woodfin.
Still, Woodfin said the city plans to see where it can work with the newly formed team of stakeholders to help residents.
“For those who want to stay, and for those who don’t want to stay, I think what we need is a working group around locally, what are we charged to do, what is our vision for the area? What is the input from the community.
If there are no resources at the federal level, what can we do locally in partnering with existing organizations,” said Woodfin.
Woodfin expects the group will meet early in 2020.
WATCH: BIRMINGHAM MAYOR WOODFIN DISCUSSES EFFORTS AT THE 35TH AVE. SUPERFUND SITE AFTER MEETING WITH EPA