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EPA: Wildwood Houses Free of Dioxin Contamination

Michael Calhoun
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A map of the Strecker Forest area is held up at an EPA meeting at Lafayette High School on February 16th, 2012. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

A map of the Strecker Forest area is held up at an EPA meeting at Lafayette High School on February 16th, 2012. (KMOX/Michael Calhoun)

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WILDWOOD (KMOX) – Try as they might, folks in Wildwood can’t wash their hands of Russell Bliss. A lot of people still aren’t ready to put his dixon-spraying-spree into the history books.

Previous controversy has regarded a proposed subdivision, called Strecker Forest, near the contamination. This time, the contention is about two empty homes which are falling apart and whether they’re safe to tear down.

Environmental Protection Agency representative Ben Washburn says his agency tested dust in both of the houses and come up with no concern.

A group of residents, at a meeting at Lafayette High School on Wednesday night, accused officials of downplaying the danger. They pointed to testing of the floors but not the rafters of the houses.

“There are people who have become ill, some children have died,” Jean Vedvig says. “It is one of the most toxic waste sites in the United States. This is no small accident here.”

E.P.A. representatives held up a map of the area, showing that groundwater flows away from populated areas.

“In fact, we wouldn’t be here under normal circumstances, because there are no indications for us to be here,” Washburn explains. “We are really here to be responsive to the community.”

Washburn says, after a few more soil samples, the E.P.A. be ready to finally close the door on the Russell Bliss saga.

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