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Monday, September 27, 2021

The Gainesville City Commission continues to debate the start date for the cleanup efforts of the Koppers Inc. industrial site.

At Thursday’s commission meeting, Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan urged the Environmental Protection Agency to work fast — locals are pushing for a date, she said.

Residents within the site, which is located northwest of Gainesville, have gotten ill because of the contaminated soil and drinking water, according to the commission.

The city’s main concern is ensuring the health of the community, Commissioner Jack Donovan said.

One of Donovan's most pressing questions pertained to the soil regulations imposed by the city and the potential presence of corrupt data.

Hanrahan said the community will be involved in cleaning up the site.

She is optimistic the EPA will have a date set by March 15. This, she said, gives the commission enough time to hear and respond to the concerns of the community.

 “We're redeveloping the site for purposes that are beneficial to the Gainesville community,” Hanrahan said.

Hanrahan also said residents and local business owners near the site are concerned about future construction and property value.

The cleanup standards for the site were discussed with the new property owner, Beazer East. However, the future use of the site remains unclear.

“We want the cleanup as soon as possible,” Hanrahan said, “but as thorough as possible.”

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