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Louisiana State University

Superfund Research Program

Community Outreach Core (ARRA Funded)

Project Leader: Margaret A. Reams
Grant Number: P42ES013648
Funding Period: 2009-2011

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Project Summary (2009-2011)

The outreach goal for this program is to provide no-cost, credible, technical assistance in an educational format to communities with hazardous substance concerns, especially those communities in which the onsite or off-site thermal treatment of "Superfund" wastes is an issue, and those facing additional environmental risks related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In preparation for this outreach effort, Core members interviewed several community leaders in New Orleans and surrounding parishes to help identify the major human-health related topics of concern among residents of these communities. These include worries about general air quality associated with hazardous waste treatment and the burning of hurricane debris. Respondents also reported concerns that flooding from future hurricanes could compromise existing hazardous waste sites and introduce additional threats to drinking water supplies.

Initial outreach efforts will focus on three communities near Superfund sites where thermal treatment processes have been proposed or adopted. In addition, the Core will provide outreach services to one New Orleans Superfund community whose residents are concerned about the risks to human health introduced or exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina. The Community Outreach Core will then expand its assistance efforts to encompass other communities with similar issues outside of the southern United States. These may include communities with RCRA combustion sites, or potential pre-Superfund sites.

The Community Outreach Core's assistance efforts will be community-driven and, as such, the educational materials developed to address the questions of each specific community will be tailored to their needs. However, experience has shown that there will be some measure of transferability of these educational materials. Thus, materials which the outreach team deems to be generalizable to other geographic regions will be provided to the public through the Outreach Core's interactive website. Throughout the program, the Outreach Core team will work closely with the Research Translation Core team and other Superfund Center researchers and participants to provide these communities with the most timely, relevant, accurate, and easy-to-understand information regarding the environmental challenges they face and the best strategies to enhance the health of their communities.

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