Almost 13-hundred properties in north Birmingham must be tested by the Environmental Protection Agency for toxins. EPA wants soil samples as well as air and water samples taken around the collegeville area.
EPA officials have been busy meeting with residents in three north Birmingham neighborhoods collecting signatures for permission begin testing. I spoke with a few residents who say, if there is contamination in the soil, they hope the problem is corrected soon.
Ethel Brock didn't want to wait for the environmental protection agency. So she reached out to a private environmental company to test the soil in her garden.
"I was advised that it was not in my best interest to eat it," she said.
She has a copy of the results from the private company. The chemicals are highlighted in yellow. She suspects this is exactly what the EPA will find when it conducts tests.
"My hope is that if the contamination is wide spread. And it is. I hope there is some way that the whole community can be cleared up," she said.
The EPA is addressing environmental concerns in north Birmingham because of the community's current and historical industrial activity.
A spokesperson says the factories, past and present, may have impacted the air, soil and water. Brock's neighbor, Anwar Marquette has lived in Birmingham for more than sixty years.
"We played up here at Hudson school some days and played around and we could see yellow clouds in the air, but what did we know about that? This was the only place we had to live," he said.
Marquette says he's glad to see the EPA step in. But what he ultimately wants to see is this.
"That they will find a way to compensate for the wrong that these foundries and pipe shops have done."