PARKS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Decades ago, hundreds — perhaps thousands — of barrels of nuclear waste were buried on a 44-acre site in Parks Township, Armstrong County.
Ever since, residents there have waited on the federal government to clean it up.
“They say one thing and they do another, and it goes on years and years and years, and now it’s time to get it done,” Parks Township resident Carmella Lawhorn says.
But after years of lawsuits alleging cancer and other deadly health impacts, the uranium and plutonium remain under a thin veil of dirt — a hidden menace to those who live nearby.
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey penned a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Energy Department and the Army Corps. of Engineers demanding they get moving, coordinate the efforts and commence a clean-up of the site as soon as possible.
“It’s really an effort to say to the federal government do you job and do it in a way that will give the people of Armstrong County and southwestern Pennsylvania a measure of peace of mind, but also a roadmap so they can see a pathway to the future of full remediation,” said Sen. Casey.
The Army Corps. of Engineers suspended the clean-up two years ago when they said their contractor cut corners and violated procedures.
A subsequent investigation found that poor or non-existent record keeping made it near impossible to determine just how much waste is buried there.
“It seems to me there’s lot more there than what they’re telling us,” said Sen. Casey.
The only thing resident know for sure is that they want to clean up to move forward in a safe and expeditious manner.
“I would say even start it sooner, get it done. It’s hurt a lot of people here,” said Robert Monheim, Jr., of Parks Township.