The Environmental Protection Agency held a public meeting in Lockport Tuesday night to alert residents of plans to clean up Eighteenmile Creek.
Area residents were urging the EPA to come up with a swift cleanup plan as the creek has been contaminated for years with PCBs, lead, mercury, and more. They were also calling for EPA to permanently relocate nine residents who lived closest to the creek on Water Street while cleanup took place.
EPA officials outlined a three-phase plan that included relocating the five residents, demolishing their homes, and excavation on the creek. They also proposed plans to demolish the former Flintkote plant that hangs in the creek and is a potential cause of some of the creek's contamination.
More than 60 Lockport residents turned out Tuesday night. Resident Pat Schrader says he is satisfied with the EPA’s plan.
"I'm happy that they're going to move the people and take the houses down because I think that's the best and proper solution. Remove the contaminated soil and replace it and cap it, and then go on from there. I just wish that it could move faster," Schrader said.
Schrader says he worries relocated residents might suffer from health issues in the future. He says he hopes the EPA decides to pay for those medical expenses.
James Stiles, who lives on Water Street, says he was happy that the EPA announced plans to relocate him and his family, but is still unsure when they will be moved.
"They said there's a plan. They're not going to just write us a check and walk away. They're going to try to find something within our means and make sure that we're going to be able to sustain a good living where we're at," Stiles said.
The cleanup process on Water Street has already begun. EPA officials placed six inches of clean topsoil on top of the contaminated land to serve as a temporary solution until an official remedy can be implemented. The EPA will continue to take public comment on cleanup options until August 26.