• FOX23 INVESTIGATES: Contamination may be spread across Collinsville

    By: Janna Clark

    Updated:

    Quick Facts:

    • Concerns go beyond the Collinsville Superfund site. Some people's yards may still be contaminated.
    • The Environmental Protection Agency said in 2016 it cleaned up the Superfund site - an old zinc smelter that closed in the 1920's.
    • In 2009, the Department of Environmental Quality started the Collinsville soil program. Emissions from past smelter operations may have contaminated nearby land.  Plus, dirt from the site was likely used around town for various projects.
    • The DEQ identified 3,493 areas to check.
    • On 283 properties, soil testing revealed high amounts arsenic, cadmium and lead - toxins all known to cause cancer.  Workers removed and replaced that dirt.
    • But not everyone participated, so not all potentially toxic properties were tested.
    • SEE: Testing map -- from October 21, 2016
    • Phone number to the Collinsville Soil Program for residents to call if they want to have their property (must be a Collinsville resident) tested: 918-574-5037 (Toll free 1-866-812-9975).

     

    Toxic soil and your health possibly in danger. in November, FOX23 told you about teens in Collinsville being diagnosed with cancer.  Now, FOX23 found the concerns go beyond the superfund site and that some people's yards may still be contaminated.


    Kim Brumley grew up in Collinsville. First, her dad died of cancer. Then she was diagnosed with cancer. She just found out her mom has cancer too.


    "I didn't put it together until I was sitting watching FOX23," Brumley said.


    Brumley saw the FOX23 Investigation about kids with cancer who all lived near the Collinsville Superfund site - an old zinc smelter that closed in the 20's.


    The EPA says it capped all toxins there in 2016 and fenced it in.


    Brumley says she found out she had cancer after her stomach started swelling, and it looked like she was nine months pregnant. A surgeon removed a 20-pound tumor and started chemo.


    "It's like a table that rocks and forth. It's like bleach in a washing machine except it's chemo in your body and sloshing it around," Brumley said.

     

    In 2009, the DEQ started the Collinsville Soil Program. Emissions from past smelter operations may have contaminated nearby land.  Plus, dirt from the site was likely used around town for various projects.


    The DEQ identified 3,493 potentially contaminated areas to check.


    On 283, soil testing revealed high amounts arsenic, cadmium and lead - toxins all known to cause cancer.  Workers removed and replaced that dirt.


    But not everyone participated, so not all potentially contaminated properties were checked.
    FOX23 analyzed the testing results. In the yard of the home where Brumley grew up with her parents, workers did not find toxic soil.  But not far behind the house, they found a large area that exceeded the limits and another area right across the street. Two properties right behind Brumley's house were never tested. Brumley says she thinks there's still contamination all over town.


    "I think was playing in a poisonous playground," Brumley said.


    Here's how widespread it is. Workers put toxic soil from people's yards in a mound that's across the street from the Superfund site. Just to the north, FOX23 saw equipment and work being done where a mobile home park used to be  Just north of there, FOX23 identified another contaminated area - the old Collinsville Zinc Smelter. 

     

    The EPA says it will be cleaned up next.


    "It's my environment, everyone's environment. I don't think anybody knows how dangerous this environment really is," Brumley said. "I love this town. This is where i was raised. I don't want it to look bad. But the truth is, there's a superfund site here, and it's making people sick. People are dying of cancer. I just got lucky I’m still alive."


    So far, Brumley's cancer hasn't come back.


    "I'm at peace," Brumley said. "I just don't want this to happen to anyone else."

     

    HEAR MORE: Extended interview:

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