West Gulfport Residents Get Update on Dioxin Clean UP - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/24/05

West Gulfport Residents Get Update on Dioxin Clean UP

It's been 28 years since drums containing Agent Orange were removed from the Gulfport Seabee Base.

Before the removal, some dioxins, a bi-product of Agent Orange, leaked from the containers and contaminated soil on base and in nearby neighborhoods. Since then, there have been many clean-ups to remove the dioxins.

Tuesday night, about two dozen West Gulfport residents gathered to get an update on the clean up and to ask questions about the project. Before the meeting, a number of those residents went on a tour of two clean up sites--both on and off base.

"It's about four or five layers high, we've got about one more load to go before we're finished with all the contaminants, taking all the contaminants up, and then what we're going to do is we're gonna cap it with one foot concrete cap, and then we will actually use it for a parking area," Joe Shaiman said.

Joe Shaiman is the project manager of the dioxin clean up.He updated West Gulfport residents on excavation efforts at the Gulfport Seabee Base.

"We're now about 80-to 90-percent completed with the excavation," Shaiman said.

Shaiman says excavation at this area just north of the base is complete. However, six inches of topsoil must be replanted, along with wetlands seed mixture, various bushes and thousands of trees.

He expects the entire clean up project on and off base to be complete by the year's end.

West Gulfport resident Marie Hansen is relieved the clean up is nearly complete, but says there are some questions she still wants answered.

"We're not so much concerned about the clean up, as we are past exposure of what was actually in the air here for all the years the barrels were sitting here leaking from 1968 to 1977," Hansen said.

"There's no way for us to go back and know now what was in the air, or for them, because they didn't monitor or track it any of the time, but we're 37 years later from 68 when it first came in leaking, and we're seeing a high rate of illness and cancer in our neighborhood."

Hansen says as the clean up continues, she and fellow residents will continue their efforts; efforts to get the health department to check into how they believe dioxins may have affected more than just the soil.

Dioxin sampling is planned this week for the area west of Canal Road.

by Toni Miles

Powered by Frankly