Updated 08/22/2012 10:00 PM
Brockovich Team Updates LeRoy Residents
The environmental research team led by well-known activist Erin Brockovich held a public meeting in LeRoy Wednesday evening to discuss the findings. The team came to LeRoy after the parents of teenagers affected by an unknown illness looked for answers into the possible cause.
”I do not know what caused the illness to take place for the girls. I have not ruled out anything or ruled in anything,” said Robert Bowcock, leader of the team.
Bowcock says the environmental factor has not been ruled out. He is asking the community to document any symptoms they may have and he's asking the school district to allow for continued testing; specifically, its gas wells.
Bowcock says the report by Leader Services, a company hired by the district, was done well, but he says the company was not commissioned to sample the wells on school property.
“Not ruling out the environmental potential, and that includes the natural gas burning at the school, the fracking sites, and I’m not picking on them because they’re fracking. They’re fracked wells. You want to call them developed wells, I don’t care what you call them. You’ve got six natural gas wells on the need to be regulated,” said Bowcock.
The team did however find traces of TCE in water sampled in the area affected by the 1970 train derailment.
Bowcock says the EPA has failed the residents of LeRoy and needs to conduct testing in this area.
“I don’t know that I would categorize it as immediate. Let’s call in chronic danger. I think that it’s a situation that’s not good. It’s not healthy. I think that exposure fluctuates throughout the seasons,” Bowcock said.
A hot issue raised during the meeting was a cancer occurrence rate study done back in 2001. Bowcock says the community needs to ask the state to conduct an area survey of the plume that would include areas in both Monroe and Genesee counties to get an accurate number of those affected by cancer in that small area.
“Parents well was never tested, and I lived right on that Route 5, right where the plume is, right where it was spilled. Never tested,” said Mary Beth Rhodes. “Three people: my mother, my sister, and I have had cancer. My mother’s passed away. Every household you can go down and at least one member or multiple members have had cancer.”
As we head back into the school year, the team will be asking the school district to allow an occupant health survey to be conducted with LeRoy students in late October and for those six fractured gas wells to be sampled.
Bowcock says since announcing their visit to LeRoy, the DEC has already been here to conduct sampling. Some residents who have lived on the plume met with a lawyer who was at the meeting to discuss their options.
Erin Brockovich herself was supposed to be at the meeting to present her evidence, but Bowcock said she came down with a staph infection, and was not able to make it. While some were disappointed, Bowcock took the time to answer a multitude of questions, and met with some residents one-on-one.