Councilperson Sherry Abitz:
During the same period residents in the neighborhood were alleging cancer and other serious illnesses from contamination in a substantial lawsuit, the City of Wausau pulled more intense environmental studies from the Thomas Street Project, records show.
“There are probably 30 cases of cancer. The primary driver behind most of the illnesses would be the presence of dioxins in the surface soils around the neighborhood that people would have inhaled and ingested over time, just from living in the area”, said Warpinski, attorney with the Milwaukee based law firm, Friebert, Finerty and St. John.”
“[D]ioxins in the surface soils” – and now the City of Wausau intends to dig up the soil in the neighborhood without doing any soil tests on the residential properties whatsoever. None.
Take note of the River Street neighborhood mentions in the lawsuit documents. For those who are not aware, for Phase II of the project, from 4th Avenue to the bridge, the yards of the River Street homes abut the yards of the Thomas Street homes — between Cleveland Avenue and Emter Street. The City intends to dig up these Thomas Street yards and their soil without doing any soil tests on these properties.
It is important that the public know that the City only intended to do more intense environmental studies because it was required for federal funding. The City of Wausau’s unfortunate logic was that when the federal funding was lost, so was the need to do these environmental tests. See and listen below.
“He [Brad Marquardt] explained the City has amended a contract with AECOM for more intense environmental documents that were required by the DOT. If the City is not eligible for the funding, these documents are not required.”
-CISM Meeting Minutes, September 11, 2012, After Losing Federal Funding for the Project
Listen to the exchange above between then City Council President Robert Mielke and Eric Lindman, Current Public Works Director, about the Environmental Impact “Study” / Statement (EIS) at the CISM Meeting on January 14, 2016