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Joint Federal/State Action Taken to Relocate Times Beach Residents

[EPA press release - February 22, 1983]

In a joint federal-state action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the State of Missouri announced today that resources have been allocated for the permanent relocation of residents of Times Beach, Missouri. The action was necessary after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) completed analysis of extensive soil sampling in the area and advised that the hazard posed by dioxin contamination is a continuing threat to the health of citizens in the community.

Laboratory analysis of post-flood sampling along roadways (including the shoulders and ditches), houses and yards in Times Beach was completed a few days ago. Of some 255 samples, levels of dioxin in a few yards and in one home show levels of greater than 1 ppb and less than 5 ppb. Sample locations in streets, on shoulders and in ditches show levels from nondetectable up to 100 ppb.

Federal and state officials met with the community residents in Eureka, Missouri, today to announce the findings. Participating were Anne M. Burford, EPA Administrator; Lee Thomas, Acting Deputy Director of FEMA; Governor Christopher S. Bond, Congressman Robert A. Young, and William N. Hedeman, Jr., Director of EPA's Office of Emergency and Remedial Response.

"I came here today to personally tell the citizens of Times Beach the results of EPA's sampling activities and what we are going to do," Mrs. Burford told the townspeople. "In response to the CDC's advice, EPA and FEMA have determined that permanent relocation is necessary and I am transferring to FEMA $33.1 million in Superfund monies to accomplish this. Governor Bond assures me that the State will participate in implementation of the action and will contribute 10 percent of the costs as is required under the Superfund law."

The action being taken is to protect the health and safety of the people in a flood hazard area and is not in itself an environmental solution to the dioxin contamination of Times Beach. EPA will enter into a cooperative agreement with the State of Missouri to do a remedial investigation and feasibility study of the area to determine the appropriate environmental solution.

Today's action resulted from the careful coordination of the Federal Task Force created by President Reagan in January. In addition to EPA, FEMA, and CDC, members include the Army Corps of Engineers, the Small Business Administration and residents of Times Beach.