Tuesday, March 4, 2008


There is a meeting scheduled for 6:00pm Thursday at the Skyland Fire Department.
Charles Thomas has arranged to have Bob Crumley, who is the current front-running candidate for the State Attorney General, come to the Skyland FD at 6PM this Thursday to meet with area residents to discuss the CTS situation.

Bob has expressed an interest in assisting us in forcing the State to enforce the laws that are being broken. See a link to his website below.

I would encourage everyone to come at 6PM to meet Bob, ask questions and express your concerns.

Following this discussion attorney Gary Davis will be discussing issues with the lawsuit against CTS. The 90-day waiting period is coming to an end and Gary is preparing to file the lawsuit, including the additional claims. At the meeting, Gary will be going over each claim as it relates to each plaintiff.

This meeting is primarily for current clients, but is open for those who are considering joining the lawsuit before it is filed.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Public Meeting Thursday

EPA Public Meeting

Skyland Fire Dept.

Thurs. Jan. 31st, 6:30pm

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will update residents on recent sampling at the former CTS plant. Independent testing last summer showed groundwater around the site is still contaminated, prompting federal, state and local officials to perform additional testing to determine the contamination’s extent. Officials with the EPA, NC Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Buncombe County Health Dept. will:

  • Discuss results of the additional well, soil and vapor testing;
  • Provide information and answer questions about recent sampling related to the site, and
  • Provide an update on enforcement actions

(taken from Asheville Citizen-Times.)

For more information, call Sherryl A. Carbonaro, EPA community involvement coordinator, at 678-575-7355.

Distributed by the Alliance for Environmental Safety: Safe Air, Water and Soil Quality in Buncombe County!

Current Activities
From November 27, 2007 to December 7, 2008, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), Division of Waste Management, through a cooperative agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, sampled 66 residential wells within a one-mile radius of the former CTS Corporation plant on Mills Gap Road (a map of sampling locations can be found in the documents section). Some of the wells served multiple households. The site, currently owned by Mills Gap Road Associates, is an EPA Time Critical Removal.

Of the 66 wells sampled, one active well showed the presence of Trichloroethylene (TCE) in excess of EPA Maximum Contaminant Limits (MCLs). The well located approximately ¾ of a mile northeast of the site, and TCE was measured at 57 micrograms/liter (parts per billion). The MCL is 5 micrograms/liter for TCE. The sampling also detected trace quantities (10.2 micrograms/liter) of cis 1,2-Dichlorethylene, a breakdown product of TCE.

The EPA OSC used his delegated warrant authority to provide bottled water to the affected residence. This substantial threat was documented in an Action Memorandum. EPA re-tested the well in question. The second set of sampling confirmed the presence of TCE at the level indicated by the original testing.

Three separate residential wells had very low levels of chloroform detected in them. One residential well had a trace amount of chloromethane detected in it. These compounds are not associated with existing data from groundwater contamination at the site. The formation of disinfection byproducts is a plausible explanation for their presence in low quantities. The analysis for one residential well detected toluene, which is a common solvent used in paint thinners and paint removers. All of these detections are below Federal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). While petroleum products have been associated with the CTS site, the multiple petroleum products most commonly found in springs asscociated with flow from the CTS site were noticably absent from the samples.

NCDENR identified all active residential wells in the immediate area of the contaminated well. On January 8, 2008, NCDENR tested eight wells which had not been tested in the November-December sampling event. Of these six additional wells tested, one well, located immediately east of the contaminated well, also contained TCE, though in a quantity below the MCL. No contaminants were detected in the other seven wells.

One well taken out of service in 1999 was resampled as a basis for comparison to historical data. Testing re-confirmed the presence of TCE in that well.

Planned Removal Actions
EPA will continue to work with the affected resident to ensure a safe drinking water supply. NCDENR will conduct additional soil sampling near the contaminated well to ascertain if there is a localized contamination source.

EPA has commenced a vapor intrusion study, a soil gas survey, soil sampling through borings. NCDENR has taken surficial soil samples and surface water samples. These studies will be documented in separate Polreps and/or START letter reports.

Next Steps
EPA will coordinate with the Buncombe County Health Center, who will act as a liaison to the municipal water authority. The feasiblility of connection to public water supply for the resident with contaminated water will be evaluated.

Key Issues
Groundwater tends to flow parallel to stream valleys in this section of North Carolina. The geology and topography do not immediately suggest that contamination would extend from the CTS site across the general direction of flow previously observed. However, the newly discovered contamination occurs in a deep well, and current groundwater characterization is not sufficient to make definitive conclusions about source.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Meeting Tonight

There is public meeting tonight and the 31st at the Skyland Fire Department. The meeting on the 31st will be attended by DENR and EPA. I hope everyone can plan to be there.

Friday, January 11, 2008

DENR is starting to move!

I just talked to David Dorian and he is going to release the information on the public meeting by the end of the day, but it will be the 31st from 6:30-8:30. He is not sure if he will make it to the SSV board meeting because he is still waiting on the air monitoring results. He indicated he was frustrated that he did not have that data yet, but expected it soon. Either way he will let you know if he plans to attend.

As far as the meeting on the 31st I indicated our desire to have and review the data and the reports and David said he would release all of the data and reports, but did not know if he would be able to do that before the 31st. I believe we need that information before the meeting, but he said even it was released after the meeting he would come back for another public meeting.

Now to the good news. DENR issued a letter to CTS indicating they wanted a full ground water assessment in order to evaluate for a full clean. CTS agreed to perform that assessment. That is a positive step and it is the first step to a full cleanup, however it does not mean we will have a full cleanup. It does mean CTS is willing to do something and they are aware that DENR is moving in the direction of a full cleanup.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Well Sampling

Below is an email from Gracia with Clean Water for NC concerning well sampling.

Hey Everyone,

In case I hadn't sent this along earlier, attached is the "work plan" (for a copy email riverkeeper@riverlink.org)
put together by EPA for sampling at the former CTS site. To my knowledge, DENR has not issued anything close to a work plan, but the protocol they use (Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP) can be found by going to: http://www.epa.gov/region4/sesd/eisopqam/eisopqam.html and clicking on the link for the Environmental Investigations SOP.

Also, I have attached a photo of the list EPA received from DENR of the wells sampled. Names have been omitted in the interest of privacy until residents have received the results of the testing of their property. Please note, DENR and EPA received multiple requests for wells that serve more than one household--hence, there are individual sampling requests that do not appear here; however, their well was sampled and is included below under an address that varies slightly from the one they provided. Also, there were a few requests for households that were connected to public water and one well that was inaccessible. The wells listed were sampled--the date and time of sampling appears in the last column.

Happy reading,

Friday, December 21, 2007

Signage update

Here is a series of email exchanges concerning a signs at the CTS property and springs.

Mr. Ogren and others:

I am continuing to work with the EPA and CTS regarding the signage issue. Since CTS is the responsible party, the EPA has made the additional signage a condition of the previous consent order. EPA is in communication with CTS and reports that CTS has agreed to be responsible for the signage. I will continue to keep you all posted on this issue.

Happy Holidays!

Vicki L. Ittel, Ph.D., MBA

Health Director

Buncombe County Health Center

35 Woodfin Street

Asheville, NC 28801

Phone: 828-250-5211

Fax: 828-250-6173

Email: vicki.ittel@buncombecounty.org

From: Dave Ogren [mailto:daveogren@hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, December 21, 2007 9:57 AM
To: Vicki Ittel
Cc: Aaron Penland; Barry Durand; Ben; Charles Thomas; Don Yelton; Glen E. Horecky, RFC, CSA; Gracia Oneal; 'Hartwell Carson'; Jim Yerkes; Mike Coney; Scott Hallowell; Teresa Figura; tim moffitt
Subject: Signs on CTS property

Dt. Ittel,
Follow up to phone message left this morning.
Thank you for having your assistant phone me yesterday about the lack of signage on the CTS property. He nicely explained to me that you were waiting until the fence was completed on the Rice property next door CTS Property. The fence was completed last week and is double paddle locked ( with no keys to the Rice's) Your assistant explained to me that there was a delay in getting the fence up because of a dispute with the Rice's as to location. Basically telling me that it is the Rice's fault that the signs are not up. At the meeting over a month ago you said you would have the signs put up on the CTS property. What does that have to do with the Rice property. They are two separate parcels, owned by two separate entities. Someone is confused or mixed up or covering up by using that story. Will you please clarify the issue about your promise to have signs erected on the CTS property. As I said in my last E-mail I have a crew and will put up the signs at no cost to you or Buncombe county. Please tell me where to pick them up.
Thanking you in advance for all that you do for us.
Dave Ogren (828) 275-3283

Update from Gracia

Greetings Mills Gap Community,

We had a very informative meeting last night – thanks to all of you who came, especially so close to the holidays!

Notes from our conversations are below.

Most importantly, if you live within 1.5 miles of the former CTS site, and you’ve not had your well or spring tested in the last month by NC DENR or the Bunc. Co. Health Dept. (even if you’re no longer using it as drinking water), call Harry Zinn, NC DENR, at (919) 508-8488, or harry.zinn@ncmail.net and Dr. Vicki Itell, Bunc. Co. Health Director, at (828) 250-5211 or vicki.ittel@buncombecounty.org and request that they sample your well/spring.

Also, some folks are concerned with the poor professionalism of the sampling recently conducted by NC DENR leading to a lack of results. If you witnessed any questionable sampling (skimming springs or creeks off the top, not sampling from far enough down your well, etc.) please contact Gracia at Clean Water for NC (251-1291) and/or gracia@cwfnc.org by Dec, 28th.

Another community meeting has been set for Wed. Jan. 23rd in the evening – please mark your calendars!

Thanks again,

Minutes from Mills Gap Area Community Mtg.
Skyland Fire Station

We formed some loose committees last night. The following is a list of Committees, committee activities and a list of those who’ve volunteered. Please contact Gracia at Clean Water for NC, if you would like to be added to any of the Committees. Although we will be out of the office Dec. 21-26th and Dec. 29th-Jan.2nd, we will get back to you as quickly as possible!


1. Signs
There is lots of concern that the Health Dept. has not posted signs identifying the site as hazardous as they promised. Although traditionally it is EPA's responsibility to post signs in cases like this, we've had trouble getting them to post things at other, even more contaminated, sites. Since the Health Dept. offered to do it, we need to keep on them to properly label the site! If everyone could take just 2 minutes to call Dr. Vicki Itell they won’t be able to ignore us!, Contact her at (828) 250-5211 or vicki.ittel@buncombecounty.org

The current team: Everyone!

2. Research
We need folks to track down old employees of the plant, dig up old articles and documents, and other tasks. Barry Durand, who has spent an enormous amount of time, energy and person funds to investigate this situation and bring it back to public attention (and he lives in Weaverville!), needs to take a break from all the work he’s done for the community. But there is still plenty to do. The current team: Dave Ogren, Glen Horecky . . . .you?

3. Corporate Campaign
It has been suggested many times that we need to help pressure CTS to do the right thing and clean this place up. We can do this by talking to the newspapers in the hometown (Elkhart, Indiana), pressuring stockholders, etc. The current team: you???

4. Flyers

Until we get more organized, we may still need to get flyers out to all in the community and we need volunteers to help. We may also need folks to help go doo-to-door with a future community health survey.The current team: you???


They’ve got money, but we’ve got people! Respond to this e-mail and let me know if you can volunteer for any of these Committees!

Witnesses needed!

We are still looking for anybody who worked at CTS and witnessed dumping of any kind. If you, or someone you know worked at CTS, please call Clean Water for NC: 251-1291. This kind of information could be key to getting the site cleaned up. Clean Water for NC has experience protecting the identity of “whistleblowers,” if you do not want your identity known.

Some people near CTS have not had their wells or springs tested:
Some people who live near the former CTS site were not aware that they could get their well or spring sampled for free by NC DENR (Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources) and/or the Buncombe Co. Health Dept. Although DENR’s deadline has expired, if your well or spring was never tested, and you live within 1.5 miles of the former CTS site, you can still ask them to test your water! DENR may say they won’t do any more sampling until April, but if they get enough requests they may have to do more. Either way Buncombe Co. has promised to sample any wells or springs, within 3 miles of the site, that DENR does not sample.

To have your well or spring sampled (even if it is no longer used for household water), call Harry Zinn, NC DENR, at (919) 508-8488, or harry.zinn@ncmail.net and Dr. Vicki Itell, Bunc. Co. Health Director, at (828) 250-5211 or vicki.ittel@buncombecounty.org

Reviewing concerns with the recent DENR/EPA well sampling:
Some folks are concerned with the poor professionalism of the sampling recently conducted by NC DENR leading to a lack of results. The group felt it was important to try to pull together as many testimonies of suspicious sampling procedures as possible and get a press release out, just after Christmas. It will be critical to get this out BEFORE results start coming back from DENR so it does not look like our concern is in response to any clean bill of health DENR may issue to area residents.

IF YOU WITNESSED QUESTIONABLE SAMPLING BY NC DENR, EPA OR BUNCOMBE CO. HEALTH DEPT. OFFICIALS, please call Gracia at Clean Water for NC (251-1291) and/or e-mail her with a couple paragraphs describing what you saw and why you are concerned the sample was not taken and/or handled properly. Your testimony will be used in a press release to go out Dec. 27th or 28th. If you do not want your name or comments given to the media please say so!

UPDATE: Gracia talked with Harry Zinn (NC DENR Div. of Waste Management) and he said results are back from the Nov. sampling, but not sampling from week of Dec. 10th. Nov results showed 6 wells/springs with low levels of chloroform or chloromethane, but all were below Federal and health-based benchmarks. There were 4 more wells added in Dec. They sampled ~65 parameters in a volatile analysis (Zinn will e-mail me the list), strictly following EPA SOP (Standard Operating Procedures (http://www.epa.gov/region4/sesd/eisopqam/eisopqam.pdf).

3. What to do if sampling results come back showing my water is contaminated?

Call Clean Water for NC and we will help you figure out a solution – 251-1291

4. New Community Organization?

Some folks in the neighborhood are in the process of starting a new community group to help focus our efforts to get a complete clean up of the former CTS site. The group is tentatively called “Alliance for Environmental Safety - Safe Air,Water and Soil Quality in Buncombe County.” The main goal of the organization is to “form a grassroots citizen action group that builds a partnership with the responsible authorities to effect a remediation of the soil and groundwater contamination where these contaminants threaten the health and wellbeing of local residents.”

Creating a collective name, identity and goals for ourselves can help solidify our efforts, get media attention, and forms a way for folks to donate to the cause in tax-deductible way. There is a Steering Committee that has been meeting to help develop this idea and lead the community fight to clean up the site. If you are interested in helping to lead this charge, contact Glen Horecky at 654-8400 or glen@wealth-design.com