EPA Running Tests In Coffeyville

Friday, July 6th 2007, 6:00 pm
By: News On 6

Residents in Coffeyville are told to stay out of the homes they were allowed in Thursday because of the continuing threat of contamination. That change was made after some people who went into the flood zone reported getting rashes and diarrhea. Meanwhile, the water has drained enough to allow traffic back on U.S. Highway 169, the main north, south route through town. The News On 6’s Emory Bryan reports that was a priority to allow traffic back through town on the only bridge over the Verdigris River.
Teams of volunteers have flooded into Coffeyville to help residents recover. FEMA trucks loaded with ice and food have arrived, and Friday the first mass distribution of hot food started with the Baptists cooking it in a church parking lot.

"We'll do lunch and a supper meal, and usually our meal count is about 1,500 each time," said Mitchell Tanksley with Baptist Disaster Relief.

The Red Cross is delivering some of the meals to city hall, the government command center for the disaster, and others are going to the evacuated residents who are staying in shelters.

“They come and go depending on whether,” said shelter director Karla Mongon. “Go look at and find it's not livable, or find something wrong and they come back here.

Evelyn Burnett-Thomas came back to the shelter after making one trip back home.

"Got a message from a neighbor that they were asking us to re-evacuate because of an odor that's supposed to be real bad,” flood victim Evelyn Burnett-Thomas said. “For some of the people who have gone back over there it's made them sick."

On the south side of Coffeyville a good bit of oil remains pooled in a low lying area. Now cleanup efforts have started around town where the oil coated houses and streets. At the refinery where the petroleum spilled out, a steady stream of semi trucks loaded with equipment is moving in, but there is still no word on how long the repairs will take.

On Friday the first lawsuit was filed over the oil contamination that got into homes in Coffeyville.

The EPA is handling the testing on the air and the water but has not announced any conclusions about what was in the polluted water that is now draining away.

Watch the video: Coffeyville Residents Told To Stay Away

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.