Editorial: Until next year

The Kopers Superfund site

File photo
Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 10:21 p.m.

Back before Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer changed everything, fatalistic Gators had a favorite saying: Wait until next year.

They don't say that on Florida Field much anymore. But it might as well be emblazoned on the gate at the Koppers Superfund site.

Wait until next year. Or the year after that. Or the year ...

The never-ending saga of Koppers is a case study of what's wrong with the federal Superfund law. It's more about delay than cleanup.

It's been three decades since the old wood-treatment facility was declared a Superfund hazardous waste site. It took more than a quarter of a century for the EPA to finally get around to recommending a cleanup plan; and one which, frankly, does not really address community concerns about groundwater contamination, and which gives short-shrift to the residents near Koppers who worry about the long-term impacts on their health and on the resale value of their homes.

Yet, even as inadequate as it appears to be, the $90 million cleanup plan has yet to be approved by the EPA. And when it is approved, it will likely be another year or more before actual remediation commences.

“Many of us in the community are exhausted by this point,” Robert Pearce, president of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood Association, told The Sun last week.

Small wonder. If the point of the federal Superfund law is indeed to clean-up hazardous waste sites, then that law's impact on Gainesville appears to be a case of too little, too late.

Wait until next year. Or the next. Or the next.

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