Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a meeting with Verona residents last week. The meeting, held on short notice, was a follow-up to a meeting held in August.
In August, concerns that the soil and groundwater might still be contaminated prompted the town meeting.At that time, a spokesman for the EPA stated that two chemicals have been found on the Syntex site in recent testing. Both dioxin and dioxane were found in ground water at that location.
Residents, however, have been assured that dioxin is not a problem.
Now it seems that dioxane may be.
Although the City of Verona receives their water supply from Aurora, residents whose water comes from private wells are concerned.
Testing to determine if the private wells are contaminated are scheduled to begin in December.
Results of the tests may take longer to receive.
Ben Washburn, EPA spokesman, told the dozen or so residents who attended the meeting that there's just one way to get sick - by drinking contaminated water.
"If there's a risk, we can provide alternate drinking supplies," Washburn said. "We need to get out there and do the testing first."
Verona Mayor Joseph Heck thinks the testing should happen sooner, not later. He also wants to know if either dioxane or dioxin is presenting a health risk to residents of his town. Frustrated with no answers to questions posed by Heck and citizens, the worries are what effect dioxane may have on the health of local children, men, and women.
"With no true answers, we can't trust them," Heck said.
The city is considering bringing in a third-party company to test the well water.
EPA plans to return to Verona in early November for another update.
Worries over contamination began in the 1980's.
Verona was once home to Syntex, who manufactured Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Dioxin is a byproduct from the making of Agent Orange. Dioxin contamination was discovered in the early 1980's when soil at the Syntex site was found to contain the chemical, which is known to cause health problems including cancer.
The 180-acre tract of land where Syntex was located was declared a Super Fund Site by the EPA in 1983. That area west of Verona was fenced and the EPA spent the next decade cleaning dioxin from the soil and removing contaminated equipment. In 1993, the EPA stated that no more remedial action was needed.
The site currently operates as BCP Ingredients.
The Aurora Advertiser will continue to follow this developing story.