Frustration over water contamination expressed at meeting in Jackson
TOWN OF JACKSON- There are now a dozen private wells contaminated with gasoline in the Town of Jackson
Tuesday night was the first time people were able to confront the West Shore Pipe Line company about the spill.
People's patience was running thin at a public meeting at the Jackson Area Community Center, reports TODAY'S TMJ4's Keller Russell.
Keller reports the people felt like the pipeline company hasn't been straight forward. And, they let pipeline executives know their frustrations almost immediately.
Pat Dano came with a list of questions she and her neighbors want answered.
"We of course, want to know why it took them so long to contact us," Dano said.
Her and about 800 other people showed up for a public meeting, but it didn't go the way they planned.
"Really, I thought it was a joke, I had three pages of questions, not one was answered. They talked in circles," Dano described.
Sally McComis was at the meeting Tuesday night and told Newsradio 620 WTMJ, "Quite a few people were very alarmed because they hadn't been notified that wells were being tested and wells were contaminated."
"A lot of people were not aware of what was going on, and they didn't know what was going on specifically with their wells," said McComis.
Executives with the pipeline picked up on tension in the room quickly.
"I'm here to tell you we didn't do as good of a job as we should have communicating to the community as a whole. That's why we're here," Patrick Hodgins of the West Shore Pipe Line explained.
The company told the crowd their focused on the wells known to be contaminated -- a number that's growing.
87 have been tested already; 170 are planned.
The pipeline company maintains the spill only lasted three minutes.
"Based on the number of barrels lost, we're very confident that it was an instantaneous release," announced Hodgins.
Residents fired off questions about health concerns related to the chemical benzene.
A doctor told the crowd they don't expect anyone to have long-term health effects and that short-term exposure shouldn't be an issue either.
Pat Dano doesn't buy it. Her home's water was one of the dozens at risk of contamination.
"I don't know how somebody can say there's not going to be any affects 20 years from now. You don't know that," Dano said.
People with problems related to the gasoline spill can call the West Shore Pipe Line Claims Center at (866) 837-5016.
The center is open for calls from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.