Minden residents react to EPA’s testing results

MINDEN, WV (WOAY) – The Environmental Protection Agency recently released their latest results of PCB testing in Minden.

The small, Fayette County community has been dealing with this type of contaminiation since the ’70s as they were once home to several mines and an equipment site that used PCBs. 

The maximum result of the testing came back 215 parts per million (ppm). To put it in perspective, 50 ppm of PCBs require EPA cleanup.

According to the latest info sheet the EPA sent out to residents, they did clean up parts of it hauling off soil and water. The sheet also states the EPA did this to around seven different sites in the area. 

However, those in Minden are still unhappy as they feel as though they are not being heard when they tell them where to test.

Local activist and longtime Minden resident Susie Worley-Jenkins also says there is no way to fully remove the toxins within the soil and water throughout their community as she has seen the EPA come in several times throughout her life and do the same thing. 

“The scientists that I have spoke with, they say there’s no cleaning it up and why the EPA don’t want to admit to it, I don’t know unless they just want to save face and that’s done over with because nobody trusts them,” she said. 

One thing the EPA made clear: They will not be relocating anyone.

In the handout, it states: “To date, the environmental data collected, on site and in the community, does not show that residential relocation is an appropriate response action.” 

Relocation is something residents have been demanding since the beginning, hence the frustration they now feel. 

For people like Darrell Thomas, his feelings are clear without even asking. You can tell by his bumper sticker that reads: “Eliminating People Annually.”

“They’re never going to do the right thing,” he said. “I think it’s a cover up. The state don’t want anything to do with it because of tourism. They’re trying to keep it down played and the EPA is just not – they’re hands are tied. They’re not going to do anything. They’ll never relocate. Same old thing, just forty years later.”

But the residents have kept up the fight still looking to be relocated and get environmental justice, especially for those battling illnesses directly linked to PCB contamination. 

“Practically, everybody’s dead now. You only got about less than 250 people down here so now, if they can get by with it, they’ll just wait on the rest of them to die and not have to do anything, so I can see them not doing anything at all, just like before,” Worley-Jenkins said.

According to the EPA’s checklist, they will return in March to do more testing on the New River and Arbuckle Creek, but they want to wait until the water levels recede.

Hazardous soil that was excavated from the seven tested areas will head to Michigan to a hazardous waste disposal facility.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.