Community meeting

EPA will host another community meeting in Verona, Mo.

VERONA, Mo. (KY3) – Following several On Your Side surveys, federal government employees return to meet the people of Verona.

New government data shows that about 20 places in the United States stand out as the most toxic regarding industrial air pollution.

One of them is in Lawrence County. People who live near the BCP Ingredients plant in Verona have a greater risk of developing cancer during their lifetime. That’s twenty-seven times the EPA’s acceptable risk.

In our last report, we told you about a chemical spill that occurred there in the spring. The EPA did a surprise inspection on sixteen defects found.

According to an EPA inspection report, the spill of nearly 1,300 pounds of ethylene oxide occurred when a rail car was emptied into storage tanks. The leak lasted seven hours. Some alarms were not working due to flood damage over a year ago.

Inspectors found a total of sixteen deficiencies. One is the worst-case scenario at the factory. The risk assessment must be updated at least every five years. According to the EPA inspector, the last risk assessment of BCP was prepared almost twenty years ago, in October 2004.

BCP recently responded to the EPA inspection report. The company did not respond directly to the sixteen issues, instead listing objections to the EPA report.

It reads: “EPA’s request for information is vague, ambiguous, overbroad, unduly burdensome, or beyond the scope of EPA’s authority. They add that some of the information is privileged or confidential.

Later in the answer, BCP adds that it has security protocols for broadcasts. One example they list is that employees wear badges once a quarter and send them to be tested. They require employees to take annual health checks to ensure there is no long-term impact.

EPA will host the meeting on October 26 from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Verona High School. EPA will provide an update on air monitoring efforts and an update on the Superfund site.

There will be a time for questions and answers.

Representatives from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will also be present.

BCP is not listed.

EPA press release:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 will hold a public availability session and community meeting at Verona High School on Wednesday, October 26. The session will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by the meeting with a presentation at 7:00 p.m. Following the presentation by the agencies present, the EPA will host a question-and-answer session until 9 p.m.

“We continue our commitment to the City of Verona by bringing together federal, state, and local partners critical to protecting public health and the environment,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “The EPA and our partner agencies will be available to share information and answer questions from the community and individuals in Verona on October 26.”

During the public availability session, representatives from the EPA, Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR), Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be available for individual discussions and questions.

The purpose of the session and meeting is to provide an update on EPA’s ongoing community air monitoring efforts and allow partner agencies to provide updates on their work regarding the installation of BCP Ingredients Inc. in Verona. The EPA will also provide an update on the Syntex Facility Superfund site, whose boundaries encompass the BCP facility.

The community meeting follows a December 2021 public meeting where the EPA provided an update on air pollution and groundwater contamination in Verona. In 2019, the EPA held additional meetings with the city of Verona and the general public to inform them of the health risks associated with ethylene oxide emissions and to provide an update on the investigation of the groundwater at the Syntex Facility Superfund site.

The meeting will take place:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Public availability session: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

(Break from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.)

Community meeting: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Both sessions will take place at:

Verona High School

101 E. Ella Street

Verona, Missouri

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