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Waycross paper retracts headline on Saturday’s front page

Special to SEGAZINE

A headline in Saturday’s Journal-Herald reported that an official report prepared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found “no evidence” that toxic chemicals released by the Seven Out Superfund site were responsible for making people sick in Waycross, and was forced to run a front page retraction Monday.

Written by a member of the Journal-Herald staff, the erroneous headline appeared atop a bylined news story prepared by Journal-Herald Editor Jack Williams III.

The EPA’s report mentions health complaints made by eleven individuals living on the periphery of Mary Street Park, as well as health complaints reported by persons at Waycross City Hall, a Waycross church and a Waycross bank. The report does not absolve the Seven Out site as the source of those health complaints, Williams said.

The EPA’s nine-page report recommends “additional sampling” to identify “potential contaminants” in the drainage pathway that may have

been released from the site, as-well-as a “detailed, up-to-date drainage path evaluation to determine whether previous determinations of runoff behavior from the site were either inaccurate or have changed.”

According to Joan Tibor McNeal of the Carswell Community Association, the EPA will be doing the testing. She said it is unclear if the federal

agency had already started this process.

Sherryl Lane, community involvement coordinator for the EPA in Atlanta, reports that the EPA will hold a public forum about the Seven Out

site on Thursday, Oct. 17, at Waycross City Hall.

The meeting is to begin at 6:30 p.m. and last until 8 p.m.

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