Whirlpool Park residents worried after toxic sludge discovered - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Whirlpool Park residents worried after toxic sludge discovered

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We have a follow up to the new developments in the childhood cancer cluster in the Clyde-Green Springs area.

People who live around Whirlpool Park in Green Springs are angry and worried after a US Environmental Protection Agency report revealed high levels of PCB's and toxic metals in the soil.

It's a closed park where EPA testing discovered evidence of toxic sludge in some places nine feet deep.

"I feel like selling the place and getting out of here," says Bill Hackett, a retired tool and dye maker and grandfather of three.

He lives about a quarter mile east of Whirlpool Park which closed years ago.

"It's not that far away. If you look between the trees you can see it," says Hackett. "The wind predominantly comes from that direction so I don't know if it's going to blow those contaminants over here on my land and I go out here and plant a garden, feed my family, and I'm killing 'em?"

The 62-year-old went to Wednesday's news conference where attorneys for families of kids who died from cancer explained the new US EPA report that says soil borings at the former park revealed high levels of PCB's which were banned in 1979 after it was learned the chemical causes cancer.

Hackett says when his kids were teenagers they would swim at the park pool.

"And then I find out that they're filling the swimming pool out of the pond that's full of all these contaminants and everybody's swimming around," says Hackett. "It's like JAWS. You've got this shark in the water and nobody's telling ya."

"Ya, I'm concerned. It's going to take time," says 23-year-old Brett Carroll who has lived in his home with his parents just west of the park for 18 years.

He used to swim at the park when he was a kid and says he doesn't trust the testing process.

"Well it doesn't really make a difference," says Carroll. "Whatever is there has already happened. So it can't change it."

Hackett, however, isn't prepared to be patient. He wants to see records of who put what in the ground.

"Hopefully they'll come forward and we'll at least find out what we're dealing with," says Hackett. "Right now it's a boogie man in the bushes and you don't know what it is."

The big question is how dangerous are the toxins found in the soil?

The US EPA says more testing is needed.

Whirlpool Corporation, the major employer in Clyde, wants answers as well.

A company spokesperson tells 13 ABC the company bought the park property in the 1950's. It was a park then and it was a park when they sold it in 2008.

Whirlpool says it wants access to the property to do further testing and is willing to buy the land back.

The attorney for the current owners of the Whirlpool Park property released a statement to 13 ABC saying they are cooperating fully with the US EPA and are in open discussion with Whirlpool Corporation.

On Wednesday the attorney representing the families of kids with cancer said he's been in touch with the counsel for the property owners.

Dustin Lance says the current property owners are brothers who own a demolition company.

Lance says the brothers bought the 37 acres from Whirlpool Corporation five years ago.

"They indicated that when they purchased the property they had no idea about any of these contaminants," says Lance who is an attorney for families of kids with cancer, not the property owners. "They purchased this as private property to build private homes for themselves. And they were going to sell off some other for development, but they had planned on using this as family property. So they were surprised as anyone else when this contamination was discovered."

Thomas M. Bowlus is the attorney for the property owners. Bowlus released a statement saying before his clients agree to give Whirlpool access to the site, "They are looking for some reassurances that Whirlpool will use the proper cleanup standards and some reassurances that they will make reasonable efforts to reimburse the owners for the damages/costs which they have incurred as a result of this contamination on the property which Whirlpool sold to them. True, we don't know the full scope and extent of the contamination, but we feel that it is very naïve to believe that cleanup will not be required, and we strongly feel that the property should be cleaned up to residential standards."

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