June 29, 2005
A piece of land plaguing an Albemarle County neighborhood for 36 years is on its way to repair. There was an informational meeting tonight concerning the status of the land and the neighborhood.
The Cismont junkyard has been illegally operating for almost four decades. Tonight for the first time, the public got an inside view of the problem, and the repair process.
Community members came to Stone Robinson Elementary School with many concerns.
"Rural water is a risk factor. One of the things in rural water is nitrates and I tested our well and it had very high levels," said Dr. John Jenks.
"Those people that can test their own wells, I would certainly recommend that if you have a concern, definitely have your water tested," said Bonnie Stevens.
Others came with ideas about how to make the clean up process run smoother.
"Well it seems to me that if the county talks to some of the neighbors, because I have lived adjacent to the Gardener property for 27 years and I have a lot of information about what has happened in that period of time," said Frank Wawner.
But all came in search of answers to a problem that has been in this neighborhood, even before many that now live there. Albemarle County is trying to clean up this 16 acre site with the help of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The message to concerned citizens tonight was one of patience.
"Hopefully within the next 4 or 5 months we can come up with a plan and get started," said Jonathan Pascarelo from the Department of Environmental Quality.
The county has set up specific guidelines for the owner for the clean up process and how long it should take. To date, the county estimates that it has cleaned up about 30 percent of the site.
"About 14,000 pounds of material has been removed from the property but we still have a ways to go so it's going to be continuing for quite some time," said Albemarle County Community Relations Manager Lee Catlin.
Some neighbors came to the meeting with concerns about health risks. At this point, the Department of Environmental Quality says they have no reason to believe they have any health concerns.