New review questions government's cleanup in Wildwood -

New review questions government's cleanup in Wildwood

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(KMOV) -- When Kelly Kramer moved into a new home, just off Strecker Road in Wildwood, she says she didn't understand what was really in the neighborhood.

"At closing, the builder gave us a two page document saying they had an environmental firm that had done some testing in Strecker Farms, saying the soil was safe for development and that there was a waste site nearby. And so, I jsut litterally just put it aside. We're at closing, we've relocated and thought nothing more of it," said Kramer.

That was in 1995. Kramer's son was 10 and grew up aplaying in the woods nearby. The wooded area was a superfund site. According to the EPA, the land was used as a toxic waste dump by Russell Bliss. Bliss owned and operated the Bliss Waste Oil Company.

Read what the EPA has written about the site:

Seven years later, doctors diagnosed Kramer's son with AML, a blood cancer that is rarely found in kids. Kramer says her son was near death three times before the cancer finally went into remission.

According to Kramer, four more of her son's friends were also diagnosed with various cancers and later died.

"This is all a circle of friends of Marquette students that either lived in Strecker Farms or in close proximity to," said Kramer.

Kramer moved from her home in 2003. She says she didn't make the connection to the superfund site until she heard a new developer that planned to build houses on a portion of the site and read that it was a superfund site.

That was three years ago and since then, there have been three studies done on the land. Some data pointed to low levels of toxins, but a new toxicology review raises questions about whether the mixture of chemicals at the site is creating an on-going health risk.

Read the latest review:

"You do have a number of chemicals that are still present that do represent a significant danger to people. So, what we do know is enough to warrant restricted acccess to the property and further investigation," said Tammy Shea, council member for Ward 3.

Shea has been pushing for further study and now wants the EPA and Missouri Department of Natural Resources to investigate the site and find out if the clean-up, the EPA spear-headed in the 1990s, was effective.

The City of Wildwood has been sued by the developer who bought the land, believeing it was not hazardous. The city put a moratorium on development so more studies on safety could be done.

The studies have also raised the ire of people who own valuable homes near the site and are worried what a new investigation will mean for property values.

"You're trying to provide a home and a safe place for your kids and now this is all called into question. I can understand their apprehension," said Shea.

Attempts to reach the developer and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources project manager for the site were unsuccessful late Tuesday afternoon.

There are no hard numbers of how many people have become ill, living near the superfund site. Kramer, however, believes her son's illness and the deaths of four friends are no coincidence.

"You can be concerned about a property value but they day that it hits your doorstep and its your son that's on a ventilator fighting for his life, then maybe you'll think differently," said Kramer.

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