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Jefferson County Health Department discusses permit renewal for ABC Coke

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Potential health hazards from air pollution took the focus Monday night.

The Jefferson County Health Department gave the public more information about an operational permit for the ABC Coke Plant.

That plant has raised fears about health for people who live nearby.

The permit is up for renewal and the health department informed people on how that process works. Many residents have concerns about the ABC Coke plant, but the EPA informed them it will be reviewing the permit to make sure everything is still in compliance."

Presbyterian Manor Apartments is directly across the street from the Drummond company's ABC Coke plant in Tarrant. People there say they see it's direct affect every day.

"I can walk around my apartment and it's carpet, in white socks, by the end of the day, they're black." Concerns about dust and strange odors are worrying Cynthia Rosgen, who already struggles with health issues. "I'm concerned about my breathing and how it will be affected."

Lathia Banks, who works at Presbyterian Manor says, "They claim its not polluted, but I can tell you first hand that I've been getting different types if smells from a smell like a nausea gas smell to a strange burnt toast smell."

People headed over to a meeting put on by the Jefferson County Health Department. It informed people that the plant's Title 5 Operating Permit is up for renewal. It's a time when people can share their concerns.

GASP, a health advocacy group for clean air, has many.

Executive Director, Stacie Propst, says "We've done our research and from a health risk standpoint this is the most dangerous industrial plant in Jefferson County, so it has the greatest health risk."

The group wants to make sure the company is following the law and wants an independent investigation done. The Health Department says ABC Coke meets all regulatory compliance's for permit. Permits are reviewed every five years to make sure everything is still in compliance with the Clean Air Act.

Jonathan Stanton, with the Health Department, says "The EPA and JCHD are making this a priority to make sure we're making the community involved in the process taking and addressing concerns, making sure the facility meets the regulations."

There will be a formal public hearing on the permit renewal process April 14th at the Health Department. We reached out to the Drummond Company for a comment, but have not heard back.

GASP says last year the EPA named the Drummond Company a potentially responsible party for toxic contamination in Collegeville, Fairmont and Harriman Park. Tarrant was not included in the Superfund Site.

GASP has a hotline where people can ask questions. That number is 1-866-581-4277.

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