New demands to clean up Superfund Site in North Birmingham

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Jimmy Smith has lived in Collegeville all of his life.  At 85 years old he’s seen the community during it highs and lows. He’s lived side by side with contamination from what was the life blood of the community: the steel industry.

He suspected something wasn’t right when three members of his family, himself included, were diagnosed with various cancers. 

Smith said, “It just so happened out of my four daughters, two of them had cancer.  My oldest daughter, the preacher of the family, the good Lord called her home as a result of the cancer.” 

Smith showed up at a town hall meeting at the Shields Center in Patton Park Tuesday Night to thank Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin for a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately place the North Birmingham 35th Avenue Superfund Site onto the National Priorities List.

The EPA found excessive levels of arsenic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs in the Collegeville, Harriman Park, and Fairmont neighborhoods in the early two-thousands.  But the clean up stalled.

In 2017, Alabama State Rep. Oliver Robinson pleaded guilty to bribery charges connected to the opposition of placing the site on the National Priority list.  In July 2018 a federal jury found Drummond Coal Vice President David Roberson and Attorney Joel Gilbert guilty of bribing Robinson.

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