Meeting to discuss Kerr-McGee cleanup set for tonight


Alex Holloway



This evening, the Greenfield Environmental Multistate Trust will hold an informal town hall to update residents about ongoing cleanup efforts in and around the former Kerr-McGee site in Columbus. 


The town hall is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Sim Scott Park community center. 


Lauri Gorton, director of environmental programs/senior strategist and project manager for Columbus with the Greenfield Environmental Multistate Trust, said the event will provide a broad overview of the work the Trust has done and will touch on what lies ahead in continued efforts to remove contamination from the site and areas around it. 


"A lot of what we've done over the past year has been our remedial investigation," she said. "We'll give them an overview of the sampling we've done, where we've sampled and what results we've had." 


Gorton said the session will also broach removal efforts the Trust has taken in the last year, such as the Seventh Avenue ditch project and removal of contamination from one residential yard. 


Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation and its successor, Tronox Inc., operated a chemical manufacturing facility at the site near the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and 14th Avenue from 1928 to 2003.  


The facility produced railroad cross ties. Since its close, the site has been discovered as the source of environmental contamination -- primarily from the chemical creosote -- and sealed off. 


The Trust manages more than 400 former Kerr-McGee sites in 24 states. It's responsible for using $5.5 billion from the settlement of a federal lawsuit against the company to address high-priority environmental issues at the former sites. Columbus received $68 million for environmental action around its former Kerr-McGee location. 


Gorton said the town hall is a chance for residents who don't normally attend the Community Action Group (CAG) meetings to get updated on the Trust's work. The CAG meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at the municipal complex on Main Street, and Gorton said the group normally leaves room on its agenda for the Trust and Environmental Protection Agency to talk about remediation efforts. 


Trust representatives will also be available Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sim Scott Park community center for more in-depth questions about the work. 


"We're continuing to work with the city because there are some areas in the storm water drainage that need to be addressed," Gorton said. "The city is designing upgrades to their storm water system, so we're working with them on that."




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