Creek County residents concerned about new RV park near superfund site

CREEK COUNTY, Okla. — People who live in Creek County say they are concerned after a new RV park opened in Bristow, across the street from a superfund site under investigation by the EPA.

The park is near the Turner Turnpike exit and Route 66. Some people are staying temporarily while others have moved in permanently. Co-owners Bill Newton and Robert Scott bought the six acres together. They say they’ve invested a lot to build the RV park here.

“Everything. It’s our retirement, we’ve invested about half a million. Our savings are depleted,” said Newton and Scott. However, locals are concerned about the residents’ safety since the park opened.

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently working on one stage of the cleanup process. Workers will remove between 30 to 35,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil on a former tank farm. That’s enough dirt to fill up 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

One of the more contaminated locations on the site is known as “the processing area.” It’s centered under the now closed Bristow Assembly of God Church building and parsonage. There is no set date for cleaning up that area, yet. In 2013, the congregation and Pastor’s family moved out of the church building and parsonage and opened a new church building in Bristow to use for worship.

Jodi Lloyd attended services at the church when it was still on the superfund site. She noticed people getting sick, so she collected her own data from members of the congregation. Lloyd said some members had seizures during services.

Lloyd’s data shows some members have also reported cancer diagnoses and some even had surgeries to remove their gallbladders.

“Logic would tell me if they are telling someone they need to leave the parsonage, if they’re coming in and bringing equipment and fencing and going the effort to clean up, it must not be that nice to live around,” said Lloyd.

In June, the Department of Environmental Quality hosted a public meeting about the cleanup process. People asked questions about the RV park, including the safety.

FOX23 asked the DEQ and EPA for documentation showing that it is safe to open a business in this area. We have yet to receive a response from the EPA, though the DEQ did share a written statement, “Soil is not expected to pose potential health risk concerns… there are no areas identified for remediation or any expected need for use restrictions at this time for the soil. Additional information related to the shallow ground water needs to be collected and will be scheduled at a future time.”

Newton and Scott told FOX23 that DEQ and EPA representatives told them it was okay to open the business there. Both men say they have documentation from the agencies to support their business, but they have not provided that documentation to FOX23.