August 6, 2009

An explosive story

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Contaminated soil at the site of a former plastic explosives plant could be cleaned up enough for a developer to put houses there, but the mayor of Mapleton, Utah, is still urging all parties to proceed cautiously. In what reporter Donald W. Meyers of the Salt Lake Tribune described as a “sometimes emotionally charged meeting,” the mayor asked state environmental officials and developers to outline their plans. More than 200,000 tons of contaminated soil from the site of the former Ensign-Bickford plant has already been hauled to a landfill. Another 90,000 tons has been baked in a kiln to get rid of contamination. Some residents remained skeptical the land could be made safe. One, who had pushed for a study of cancer cases in the city, alleged that well water contaminated with the explosive, RDX, had already caused four cancer deaths in his neighborhood.

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