Neighbors Sick. Should Developers Dig Up Toxic Soil In Florida Suburb?

"Residents already hit with disease are fighting the multibillion-dollar corporation DR Horton, America’s largest homebuilder".

"Kristen Burke and her husband, Harold, moved into their home in Russell Landing, a rural suburb just outside of Jacksonville, Florida, nearly 15 years ago. The quiet and tight-knit neighborhood sits next to a shaggy pine forest and a blackwater canal. “This was our dream home,” said Burke.

It wasn’t until 2018 that she realized the extent of the pollution lurking next door: according to Burke, who recently became part of a local watchdog effort, an industrial plant that once operated nearby left barrels of toxic waste buried in the ground and never came back to clean up.

Just beyond the chain-link fence at the end of their street, many of these 50-gallon drums can still be seen poking up out of the ground. The neighborhood knew about the abandoned factory, which shut down in the 1990s. But now residents and former employees say that the contents of these barrels, along with groundwater and air pollution that government agencies failed to adequately regulate for decades, have contributed to a pattern of cancers, heart disease, birth defects and genetic disorders.

In recent years, Burke and her neighbors have grown more vocal about the health risks of living in Russell Landing, as developers have eyed the former plant’s property with the goal of building new housing to stanch Florida’s affordability crisis."

Jordan Blumetti reports for the Guardian March 17, 2024.

Source: Guardian, 03/18/2024