CenterPoint Representatives Report on Findings
Water and Ground Toxicity Levels Addressed at SKC Alliance Meeting
Bu Geoff Gerling
South Kansas City Alliance, an area coalition focused on issues facing the 5th and 6th City Council districts met earlier this month to hear from representatives of CenterPoint Properties, the group poised to redevelop the Bannister Federal Complex at Blue River Rd and Bannister Rd.
Leaders of the national property development firm explained to a packed audience they are nearing the end of an 18-month study to identify exactly how much clean-up of hazardous material is required and what best use the giant facility can have for the future.
Major concerns arose after a report that toxic materials could potentially be contaminating the Blue River and elements such as beryllium in the ground surrounding the complex would require extensive removal to be deemed safe for future use.
CenterPoint officials stated that all tests conducted to date of the surrounding water have not shown dangerous levels of toxicity and dozens of ground samples are being analyzed.
While a final conclusion has not yet been drawn, results are encouraging that careful demolition of the buildings and removal of soil is both possible and in the scope of other projects successfully completed by CenterPoint.
As has been the case for the past few years, local residents remain concerned. Several members of the audience expressed doubt and worry that removal of material would create new airborne and water hazards, potentially effecting thousands in the area. Senior Vice President Jim Cross assured attendees that all necessary precautions will be taken to minimize risk, as CenterPoint has done successfully on similar projects.
Internal reports going back to 2011 show a long list of chemicals released into the area around the complex, some extremely toxic. These chemicals and heavy metals are a product of the site’s production of materials, including but not limited to non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons, going back to the 1940s. The main concern has been around levels of beryllium, which is known to cause cancer in humans at certain levels of exposure.
Citizens are encouraged to visit www.bannisterrevelopment.com for news and contact information.
South Kansas City Alliance next meets on February 8 in the Kansas City Police Department South Patrol Community Room , 9701 Marion Park Dr., at 6 pm. The featured guest will be KCPD Chief of Police Darryl Forte. This meeting is open to the public.
Geoff Gerling is the Chairman of Government Affairs for SKCA and also serves on their Board of Directors.