EPA investigating PCBs at Liberty Fibers site

Jan 3, 2009 Full story: www.citizentribune.com 46

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has detected on the former Liberty Fibers site the presence of chemical compounds linked to serious human illness, an EPA attorney confirmed Friday afternoon.

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jim

Morristown, TN

#1 Jan 19, 2009
Will we ever know the real story?
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#2 Jan 19, 2009
By living in the area my entire life I have seen and witnessed some unbelievable things burried at the former dump site adjacent the River Road.(former old dump site) it was once a valley, much lower than the road. What is buried there, was toxic, I spoke to former employees that covered it with layers of dirt, and then started the process over, and over. Thats why today there is a large hill, tons of waste lay underneath and that is only on the one site. There was also a secondary dump site that has just as much located on the opposite side of the property. What they have uncovered now is still at least a mile from both those dump sites, it is only very minor compared to what is buried at the old dump sites. The first was never regulated, most was dumped at night, and I can remember seeing hundreds of 55 gallon barrels leaking chemicals from them as they decayed and rusted away half buried. Also not anything to do with the toxic waste that was dumped in those areas another waste site was concealed and buried near the site of the former softball field. On that site 50 and 60 years ago was a chemical plant. There are underground storage areas there that had 2 to 3 feet of chemical residue floating throughout them and we are talking hundreds of feet of underground shafts,concrete tunnels,etc. There was once a Truck Leasing Company there that rented the property in the late 1970's by the name of Goldston Truck Leasing, Andrew Marshall whom worked for Morristown City at the garage was once the supervisor there, he told and I witnessed some awesome things there. Goldston remained there until the property was condemmed in 1986. Some of the employees caught one of the underground shafts on fire and it burned for weeks millions of gallons of water was pumped into that shaft to try to contain that fire. That incident triggered the closing of that company at that site. I later talked to one of the workers there, he said for the 7 years he worked there they had dumped used motor oil into those underground cavities from the American Enka and Lenzing Fibers trucks that were maintained on the site. Old buildings stood there as well and they were full of hundreds of barrels of toxic waste that I met several that witnessed those dumped and buried on site as well. About 6 inches of top soil was hauled in to cover it and new grass planted. This was just yards above the softball field that was used for years after those occurences. Noone will ever know whats hidden underneath throughout those acres and acres of property. Frequently there were fish kills on the Nolichucky River and creeks near there. I also knew supervisors that in the 1960's were given instruction to dump chemicals into the creek that flowed through the property in route to the river. Salary employees wer instructed to dump into the creek(in intervals)and other times was told to let it trickel into the creek slowly so it would not be traceable. All this is fact and there are so many stories I documented over the years. The biggest reason for the failure of those plants Enka, Lenzing, Liberty, were the practices of the past. There was eventually so much pressure to clean up and stop covering waste that it became to expensive to add the new requirements of clean emmissions that no money could be made. The site is an enviromental nightmare and what they are cleaning up now is nowhere near the dumpsites that I have just discussed. If anyone would like to visit and take a sample of our house water just write in. I have nothing to hide, it has been analyzed by at least 10 different labs and each one says the content has so many inpurities it couldn't be purified, DO NOT USE! So believe me you will never hear the whole story.....NEVER!
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#3 Jan 19, 2009
The above story was 3 times as long and because the character limit of 4,000 I had to remove much of its content. I spent hours writting it and it would not accept all I had written. All I am trying to say is that even Don Dare came to investigate our water problem and after he left the story never aired on tv. We called to ask why and all he would say is you all have a huge problem and I wish you the best with it, and hung up. I personally tried to reach him thereafter and never received even a response on the record but off the record....we were advised to never consume the water because it contained toxic chemicals that were manmade.
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#4 Jan 19, 2009
The photos I took throughout the years as I tried to document our problems were always taken by those wishing to help. Each time as I tried to get a reply, I was always told sorry, I wish I could do more, but I just can't. Dont drink the water!
The photos of leaking barrels, piles of chemicals on the ground, and the underground chemical trophs at the former chemical plant near the softball field were proof positive, but still noone wanted to take it past the ohh my gosh! reaction when first looked at.
I spoke with dozens of former employees and interviewed and documented there stories, it was amazing the things that actually went on.
Ever wonder why cancer was so prevelant in the area? I tried that approach also.
In 1996 and or 1997 Hamblen county was given the distinction of being the most polluted county in Tennessee. Also the rate of diagnoised cancer in the area was well above national average...coincidence? I don't think so! Many families had members employed from the Lowland site. In 1980 there were over 4,000 that were employed either by American Enka, or one of its vendors and support staff such as constuction, trucking, both blue collar and white. Millions of dollars passed through the local economy and some of the best paying jobs were yes right here in Lowland. So why would you want to cover up things like pollution, bad environmental practices, etc. The plant had operated since the 1950's and brought much needed jobs and money to the local area. No one would ever choose money over dumping a little waste, not in this world.
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#5 Jan 19, 2009
in the 1950's, 60's and 70's who had ever heard of toxic waste? Noone knew what it was nor did they even care then. Not that they were dumb or un caring, but who would of ever thought that dumping a little trash items would impact the land in the future, NOBODY did! Trying to comply with enviromental restrictions and the stopping of dumping outback, eat up all the profits. Retrofitting smokestacks, monitoring water emmissions, and hauling toxic waste to a safe area was what bankrupted American Enka, Lenzing Fibers, And Liberty Fibers. We can blaim foriegn workers, we can complain about jobs going out of America, and or Tennessee, but taking from the profit column the money it took to try to slow the pollutants from entering our environment. Then the money you take from the profit margin trying to meet government restrictions on waste. Equals = Going out of business! Trying to clean the site up from bad past practices and also the tightening of control on emmissions, thats the real reason those are now gone. Not to mention all the items that were stolen by workers, and hauled out by the truckload. But thats a whole different story, and yes I know even more about that then all the waste that was dumped, but that is irrelavant at this point. Watch the story unfold, also watch it dissapear. This state could not afford to clean this site up, absolutely no way. Noboby could ever afford to clean it up, what is underground is out of site. One thing for certain no one will ever be allowed to dig or construct in certain ares NEVER! The dirt that hides will never be disturbed, but throughout time little leaks and breakouts will periodically pop up.
Clean Air

AOL

#6 Jan 19, 2009
Have you contacted any lawyers? Below is just one link, there are hundreds of them, with info regarding what you just posted. Good luck.

http://www.chem-tox.com/
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#7 Jan 19, 2009
As I said I have grown up in the Lowland Community and all but the time I was away in college I was right here. I passed everyday going to and from school and watched things that I knew even as a young child go on that were wrong. I am talking of dumping of barrels of chemicals etc. I took pictures when I was very young and complained to my parents, telling them what I saw was wrong. Watching the smokestacks bellow out sooty black smoke. Watching my grandfather put up a new barbed wire fence every few years because they would decay. I used to ask him as he complained about the Enka Plant rusting away his fences, etc. Why do they do that? Why do they dump in the waterways, why do they pour all that stuff on the ground and bury it. He always told me they just can, people got to work somewhere. Im remember asking him one day as we passed on the tractor, dont you worry about breathing the air around here...the smell was horible, but you got used to it. Don't you worry about it grandpaw, he said well we all got to die of something anyway. he would never eat a fish from downstream and always told me only to fish upstream in creeks and the river. I think a lot of people understood they just tollerated it.
My grandfather died with cancer as did several in my family. I always stated as a young man I hoped that place would go out of business because of all I had seen over my years. I do not consider myself a enviromentalist, to be honest I think they are luneys and go overboard, but I did want to see that horrible plant close when I was young. However after I became a man I watched them stop those bad practices, and stop the dumping, stop the deep dark smoke, slow down the stink, etc. I stopped taking photos in the 1980's but boy do I have some that will curl your hair to look at. As well as interviews I did in high school and college, because I had committed to trying to stop it myself. I guess it was from years of seeing the disgust and talking to so many that told me the horrible stories, and what they also witnessed. That I became crusted myself, and basically gave up when I should of kept pursuing the issue. Thats probably why on my property there are 5 wells and have spent over 25,000 dollars trying to get clean usable water, and why today I have to carry jugs daily. Thats perhaps my payback for stopping.
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#8 Jan 19, 2009
Clean Air wrote:
Have you contacted any lawyers? Below is just one link, there are hundreds of them, with info regarding what you just posted. Good luck.
http://www.chem-tox.com/
Oh my God yes My parents as well as family and myself, the problem is now there is noone to blame. Liberty the last of the 3 large plants on the site operated in the red and had zero capital when they filed bankruptcy. There is no one that can be forced to do anything. The contract from American Enka to Lenzing grandfathered prior years, and so did the one from Lenzing Fibers to Liberty Fibers. Trust me, underground anywhere near there is an environmental nightmare. Actually our water doesn't come out of the faucet black as bad anymore, but it is still badly discolored and the odor will turn your stomach. In the middle 1990's I actually took a glass of water from my kitchen sink to Lenzing Fibers. I will not reveal the gentlmens name there at the time. I ask him if he would drink it? He vowed to help us at least get city water near our property. It never happened! I went to Knoxville and was interviewed by channel 6 and their news reporter and talked on camera about the situation and even showed the water in a glass. That really got some attention for a day or so, my employer called me to his office told me Lenzing was a customer of ours and to retract my statements. I didn't and was repremended severly, pay was cut and I eventually had to leave but they denied there being any connection. I am not a bad person nor is anyone in my family, this all happened in a course of 40 plus years. I just kept photographs and documents but never really pushed the issue. Actually forgot it till this opened all those old wounds and memories.
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#9 Jan 20, 2009
I am looking forward to telling relatives and old employees of this post. This may get interesting! There are so many stories of things that went on within the gates so to speak. I actually went to work there briefly for the purpose of getting better evidence and speaking to those that worked there in certain jobs. I really did during my young life decide I wanted that place to close because of things I saw.
I will tell some fish stories later, ever seen thousands die at once, and the river banks were so littered with dead carcasses they looked like piles of stone. I have pictures of things like thatb also.
Clean Air

AOL

#10 Jan 20, 2009
I would contact a lawyer. I have a friend who's father passed away from mesothelomia. It was caused by asbestos used at Ceil Heat, where he worked for over twenty five years. There were many people that filed against that company and several others because they were aware of the toxins and did not tell the emps and they collected.
Demo Daddy

Morristown, TN

#11 Jan 20, 2009
What the group that is gutting the ole Enka site are doing is a crime,I drove through one day while they were working and saw them pouring oil ? other fluids on the ground when they broke open mach, to get the copper out.I also saw them busting asbestos off pipes and let it get carried away by the the wind.It has killed prop. values in the area.We can thank our local buss. men Mark Sawyer and his father-in-law Harlod Nichols for all the contamination set free during the demolition work, so rember them when the Law-suits start flying.The work has been shut down out there and lots of bad checks have been written and suppliers not paid.Can anyone say Bankruptcy?
superfund sites

Morristown, TN

#12 Jan 21, 2009
We have had superfund sites in your community the EPA has had Hamblen County to clean up some of them .the pollution was from shutting down landfills after they were filled up. It cost taxpayers millions of dollars but we kept on fighting any way.The pollution had to be cleaned up or at lest we hope it was.

Since: Oct 08

Nashville, TN

#13 Jan 21, 2009
the question is will they go after Enka, who ran the place for over 40 yrs, then go after BASF, who ran the biggest part until they sold out, or just go after Lenzing, who only resided there a short time compared to the rest?
Demo Daddy

Morristown, TN

#14 Jan 21, 2009
What about the last bunch who raped the land for a quick proffit?
jim

Morristown, TN

#15 Jan 21, 2009
hey call erin brockovich.. she is investigating the ash spill in Roane County and would love this.. I had forgotten that the big Nichols was owner of this now... Bankruptcy I Hate that for him (LOL) that is what happens if you keep doing things wrong for years and years it will eventually bite you and sometimes bite you big!
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#16 Jan 21, 2009
I have no idea whats going on there now, anyone that is even attempting to clean up the place by tearing it down has to be doing much more good than harm. The old plant buildings were getting in bad shape so trying to take them down must be a hard task. My hat is off to them! Look the pollutants were there for over 50 years, and yes American Enka was absolutely horrible and careless as I said in my opening the other day. BASF true was bad also but the damage had been done before they got there. As for BASF they could be compared to you or I buying a car from a local dealer, paying for it and taking it home. Getting up the next morning and oil leaking on the driveway. Taking it to a mechainic and being told there was a hole in the block, and the radiator was rotten, the transmission was full of coca-cola and saw dust was in the rear end. Then getting in the car to leave and the starter lock up, catching fire to the vehicle and trying to push it from the shop only to find the brakes were locked up and it wouldn't move.
Calling the dealer to complain only to find he was no longer in business and gone. The only thing different about the fact that this happened to BASF was the fact that American Enka in contrast was like their step brother who told them about the oil leak, transmission problem and rear end slipping and the auto was about on its last leg. Go ahead and take it and dont pay me for it just take over payments. And oh the local economy needed BASF to keep the doors open for the sake of jobs so they left a lot of the same people in charge. Besides they were accustomed to the practices already and the local government stayed out of the way. No true oversite allowed a lot of things to slide, if you know what I mean. Kinda like taking a written test, needing a passing grade, having all the answers written on a cheat note and then getting to grade your own paper. Once the paper is graded you lay it on the teachers desk for her to put in the grade book. There was a lot that was allowed to go that should not of, but when BASF took over there were still 2,000 people employed.

“What does this button do?”

Since: Oct 08

Location hidden

#17 Jan 21, 2009
Metaphorically specking, if one could park that vehicle in the right persons a**, they would be uncomfortable enough to want to park it in the a** of someone else up the latter at some point in time. The lower they are, the more willing they are to past the blame up. Erin B. can confirm that theory.
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#18 Jan 21, 2009
I was working on location when Enka was at its final days and then on into the BASF era for a few years. Those were when I captured most of my photo's. I did not actually work for either but was on the grounds as contract labor. I was able to go to any part of the property freely. Most people don't even know of the beautiful lake that was above the plant on top of the hill. It covered about 6 acres and was full of fish, even had a boats (alum) bottomed and a dock. I used to fish there a lot, it was not allowed but the security didn't mind if they knew you were there. OH but dont worry I never kept the fish nor eat them, they were probably safe the water was pumped from the river up there. The lake was there as a holding tank for water to supply the plant below. There were mussel shells in there as big as a hat. That property was once a thriving self sustaining little city-like place. There was an awesome park just past the main entrance with playgrounds, covered picnic tables, just similar to Cherokee Park. There were nice homes built there to house the plant management. Most of that is buried underneath waste now, for it became the site of dump#2. There on the site was once a full time doctor, nurse, and hospital. It was directly beside the Post Office. They even had their own store I bought many a pair of shoes there before it closed. Lowland Credit Union started there, I was one of the few that on a daily basis was in the majority of the warehouses, different divisions of the plant and boy did I see some things, thats how I collected so much information. Many a marriage troubles started in some of those warehouses, so what I'm trying to say is you never knew what you'd walk up on in the secluded areas.
The machines worked 24 hours 7 days a week, the employees probably averaged about half that, however there were some very hard working individuals but those that did not wish to work very hard certainly did not, and yes they numbered about half the work force.
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#19 Jan 21, 2009
I earlier said I witnessed items carried out of there by the truckload, well I did. I will not mention any names but it was unbelievable to me the volume that left there and the people that actually did it. I do mean a literally truckloads at a time! Actual trailers to haul cars on, lawnmower trailers, race car haulers, enclosed trailers, deer hunting tree stands by the hundreds were built from steel that left in trucks and dropped just outside the patrolled site. Also enough lumber was hauled out of there to build several houses. Aluminum, electrical wiring, lights, cases of florecent bulbs, electrical components, electric motors, tools- oh my God did these leave that plant by the thousands. I even seen insulation hauled out of there on consecutive days- must of been doing a warehouse somewhere. They really had an operation going. One funny story that was of minor theft of material but kinda summed up the way the whole plant operated so loosely. These very nice looking belt buckels were being made inside the plant out of polished stainless steel. The workmanship was awesome, everybody that worked there either had one or knew someone that did, or had a spouse that they took one to. One day a phone call came in at Tom Friarson's office and it was a gift shop in Gatlingburg, Tenn. They had been buying these belt buckles from employees at the plant and called to place an order! Well the belt buckle ring really slowed down after that day, but thousands were made.
Lowland Resident

Covington, LA

#20 Jan 21, 2009
Also let me say many a good and honest persons worked there as well. Those people never bothered anyone nor took anything from the site either.
In other cases many benefit greatly from being employed or having a family member employed from there. One of the best examples of this is the West High Baseball Team and its students. Today I will venture to bet that not a handful know that the very reason the stadium at West High in Morristown is there is because of Enka and Lenzing Fibers.
It all started years ago and because of growth at the American Enka Plant, but also due to growth and construction at Lenzing as well.
Security made rounds and were required to punch multiple devices at various locations throughout the property. One security guard payed very close attention to detail as each job progressed. He watched the various stages of construction, materials used, how foundations were made, noting every detail. He later passed his new trade and taught his two sons the technigues. They benefited the most with their families as they were passed the torch from their father. For he founded Wild Construction simply by being very observant each day and watching carefully for years. Continued....

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