EPA, EPD investigate 15 drums of toxic waste dumped near park in Stone Mountain

The federal Environmental Protection Agency and state Environmental Protection Division are investigating the dumping of 15 drums of toxic waste near a city of Stone Mountain park. Photo provided to Tucker Observer

Update: On Dec. 22, the city of Stone Mountain released the following statement regarding the toxic waste dumped near a city park.

Clean-Up of Illegally Dumped Materials – Official Statement

With regards to the dumping of toxic waste near McCurdy Park the City of Stone Mountain, its City Officials, and its Administration offer the following statement:

The City of Stone Mountain’s Public Works Director Jim Tavenner received report on Monday, December 20th, 2021 that several barrels of material had been dumped near McCurdy Park at a tributary of Barbashela Creek. Tavenner’s investigation confirmed the illegal dumping of 15, 55-gallon drums of materials identified as antifreeze and oils. Director Tavenner immediately contacted the City’s stormwater engineers and also called the S&ME Environmental Engineers and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to begin investigation and planning to formulate an immediate course of action for mediation. Local Authority and Georgia EPD requested assistance from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA arrived on the scene Tuesday morning.

The drums released materials into the tributary of the creek. However, no potable water is derived from the area and, therefore, the spill is not a threat to drinking water. Federal contractors have removed the drums, vacuumed the creek dry, and have excavated and removed contaminated soils from the dumping site. Contamination units have been staged near McCurdy Park while continued monitoring is conducted.

Investigation on the matter is ongoing.

The City of Stone Mountain’s Officials and Administration thank Director Jim Tavenner, Clark Patterson Lee, and S&ME for their immediate response to coordinate action in the matter. We also thank the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the DeKalb County Hazmat Team for their response efforts. The City appreciates the Code compliance and investigatory efforts of City of Stone Mountain Sgt. Bob Hillis and the City also offers its thanks to the Federal response and services rendered by the Environmental Protection Agency in the prompt clean-up of the material.

Please do not hesitate to present your questions and concerns to your City Officials and to the Administration. We are here to address them and to provide you with the assurance that we are working in the best interest of the City in this and all matters.

Sincerely,

ChaQuias Thornton

City Manager

Here is our earlier story:

Stone Mountain, GA — The federal Environmental Protection Agency and state Environmental Protection Division are investigating the dumping of 15 drums of toxic waste near a city of Stone Mountain park.

According to a reader, someone deposited the drums near the terminus of Barbashela Creek next to McCurdy Park. A spokesperson for EPD says, “Drum contents now have been identified as antifreeze, gear oil, and mineral oil/xylene.”

A spokesperson for the EPA said, “At the request of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GAEPD) and local authorities, EPA has deployed an On Scene Coordinator to the scene of 15 abandoned drums impacting a tributary that leads to Barbashela Creek site in the City of Stone Mountain (Dekalb County) to provide assistance and oversight of the response efforts. Dekalb County Hazmat is responding and GAEPD has deployed a responder as well.”

The cleanup effort and investigation is ongoing, according to EPD.

“The Georgia EPD Emergency Response Team was notified on [Monday], December 20 that fifteen 55-gallon drums were found near a park in the City of Stone Mountain and arrived at the site about 7 p.m.,” a spokesperson for EPD said. “The drums had released an unknown material into a tributary of Barbashela Creek. The Dekalb County Hazmat Team was notified and responded. No drinking water intakes were identified in the area. Dekalb HazMat placed sorbent pads and boom to establish containment. … Federal contractors are currently removing the drums.  The creek will be vac-trucked dry and contaminated soils will be excavated and removed. An investigation is ongoing.”

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