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EPA Region 7 Did Not Effectively Engage with the Community Surrounding the Findett Corp. Superfund Site

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Why We Did This Report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General conducted this evaluation to determine whether the EPA adhered to federal laws, regulations, and EPA guidance pertaining to community engagement standards and practices at the Findett Corp. Superfund Site. Contamination of the groundwater at the Findett Corp. Superfund Site and the EPA’s response to that contamination has long been an issue of concern in the St. Charles, Missouri community. 

Summary of Findings

EPA Region 7 did not effectively engage with the community affected by the Findett Corp. Superfund Site. The region’s public-facing documents and presentations were too technical for the public to easily understand. The region also distributed information in newspapers with low circulation to reduce costs. As a result, members of the St. Charles, Missouri community, which is near the Findett Corp. Superfund Site, were unaware of opportunities for public participation and confused about the cleanup process. Further, after the discovery of an additional source of contamination, Region 7 did not promptly develop a new or updated community involvement plan for St. Charles. In addition, Region 7 did not effectively facilitate community involvement by providing timely technical assistance or other tools to the St. Charles community. It also did not use available mediation services in a timely manner to mitigate the contentious relationships among the Findett Corp. Superfund Site stakeholders, resulting in cleanup delays and community mistrust in the EPA. 

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