Neighbors Tour Chemical Plants

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October 18, 2005
After January’s train crash and chlorine spill in Graniteville, other people living close to chemical plants grew concerned. But as News 12 reports, the major plants in East Augusta want to reassure their neighbors that they have nothing to worry about.

There are many questions and what if scenarios when you live near a chemical plant. But some of Augusta’s major chemical plants are showing neighboring residents what’s behind these gates.

John Zimjawski has lived in Goodale Landing for three years a half a mile from the billowing steam that erupts from East Augusta’s six chemical plants.

“They’ve been here for years and they basically police themselves very well,” Zimjawski said.

Paul Cook has lived in Goodale Landing for 13 years. He didn’t think twice about becoming a neighbor to several of Augusta’s plants.

“Occasionally we might get a little bit of a smell from some of the chemicals, but I’m not concerned about it,” Cook said.

Cook says he feels comfortable with the plants as neighbors and says they routinely do safety checks. But there is one concern about where Cook lives. In the event something did happen, there is only one way in and out of his neighborhood.

“See, Riverfront Drive stops right here down the street in a cul-de-sac,” Cook said.

Neighboring chemical plants hope it never has to come to neighbors being locked in because of a disaster. And to make them feel more at ease, the plants are holding an open house dinner and tour of their plants for the East Augusta neighbors. It’s something they’ve done before.

“To give the community a chance to see what we are doing, answer any questions they may have, to give them a better easy feel of what’s going on in the industry and around them,” said Dean Morris, DSM Chemical.

In the event that there is a chemical spill or chemical release, rest assured that these chemical plants have evaluation plans and ways of notifying their neighbors.

The River Road Community Advisory Panel was responsible for putting Tuesday’s events together. This panel serves as a link between communities and chemical facilities as a way to improve dialogue between plants and their communities.