East Point neighbors are concerned about the periodic chemical emissions of toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, penta, and creosote from nearby manufacturing plants. At times, the odors cause residents to stay indoors. Some individuals experience dizziness or headaches when breathing these fumes.
Residents came together with Emory HERCULES in November 2018 to share their health concerns, learn about the exposome, and identify a health priority. As a result, a group of residents committed to working together to address industrial pollution in their community.
Residents who came together in Phase 1, now the East Point Environmental Collective, received $1000 in December 2018 to develop an Action Plan to address the community need identified during the Roadshow:
East Point manufacturing facilities and deserted hazardous waste sites release volatile organic chemicals and other hazardous materials into the air, soil, streams, and groundwater in their neighborhoods. This pollution negatively affects their quality of life and may harm their community’s health.
Phase 3: Action Grant
To put their plan into action, EPEC was awarded a $2500 Action Grant in May 2019.
Project Title: Reducing Industrial Pollution and Improving Community Health in East Point
Project Mission: To reduce industrial pollution and improve our community’s health by using community science methods to engage residents, gather data, document issues and persuade decision makers to enforce existing environmental laws and enhance local laws to protect residents and our environmental resources.
East Point has a history of heavy industry and manufacturers continue to operate adjacent to residential neighborhoods. Several of those manufacturing sites have been in significant non-compliance with environmental regulations for extended periods of time and remain in significant non-compliance at the present time, according to the EPA’s website. This project has two work streams: Air Quality and Water Quality.
Air Quality Goals: to identify and document any “hot spots” where industrial odors in the community’s air concern East Point residents.
Water Quality Goals: to identify the sources and substances of pollution in a South River neighborhood stream that is unnaturally blue and bubbly.
To sustain their efforts, EPEC was awarded $2500 in May 2020.
Project Title: Create a sustainable Adopt-a-Stream water monitoring program in East Point neighborhoods and provide a SoilSHOP for the lead screening of soil samples
During this project, EPEC volunteers, who have been trained by Adopt-a-Stream, will monitor two areas of the South River and log data in the Adopt-a-Stream database. Five additional EPEC volunteers will complete Adopt-a-Stream trainings and begin monitoring neighborhood streams. Additionally, EPEC will offer a SoilSHOP, with our partners, ATSDR and GADPH in 2021. EPEC’s ability to reschedule the SoilSHOP will depend on the availability of ATSDR, GADPH and any 2021 COVID-19 restraints.
Organizational Capacity Goals:
EPEC has a core team of volunteers who have persistently rededicated ourselves to improving our environment and our health. This year, to reach our organizational capacity goals, we will increase the leadership capacity of individual EPEC volunteers by providing opportunities to lead, specifically establishing a successful resident-led Adopt-a-Stream program.