To The Daily Sun,
I am writing to comment on the Dec. 9 article headlined "Sanborn's gas pumps to go dry, unintended consequence of legislation results in loss of work for man."
The truth is that the property went on an EPA watch list when a leaking underground storage tank was discovered in 1984. It was addressed in 1989, but admittedly the connecting pipes weren't updated. That makes the pipes over 30 years old, my guess at least 50 years old.
Here in Laconia there are numerous areas where land has been contaminated by hazardous waste and identified by the EPA as a candidate for cleanup because they pose a risk to human health and/or the environment.
The homefacts.com website lists 134 known leaking chemical storage tanks above and below ground with known environmental hazardous spills just in Laconia. There are approximately 60 leaking underground storage tanks on approximately 55 properties in Laconia. These old rotting storage tanks have been underground leaking all kinds of chemicals for years, some even for three decades. Sadly, no one at an official level seems overly concerned that people are being unknowingly exposed to health risks all over Laconia.
If city officials have knowledge of the six Superfund, six Brownfield sites and 134 leaking storage tanks sites, they avoid discussing them publicly because that means property values or reuse of prominent land might be affected. Would the market value of those properties still be evaluated as high if the environmental hazards were exposed? Many of the properties on the list have prominent businesses that used the lands regardless. What about people that may have been sickened already and, if not dead, what if they found out what made them sick and connect it to the land? Whose responsibility is it to take care of them?
I found out that there is an old forgotten Superfund site just down the street from where I live. No one informed me of the health risks when my family moved here, not my landlord. Rents aren't cheap in my neighborhood. I've been here for 20 years and remember one summer when three people died of cancer on the same street. Other long-term residents have physical and mental illnesses that can be attributed to long-term exposure to toxic chemicals.
What about the rest of us that still live here? It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up these messes and while there are federal funds available to do the clean up, it takes official commitment at local and state levels. It appears that certain areas where there is hazardous waste produces more human illnesses that in turn feed the medical industry. Think about it. We have a nice expensive hospital. No one wants to speak about this because the wooing of prospective business, residents or tourism will be damaged.
I think it's ironic that the city works so hard to be visually beautiful, attractive above ground and very little goes into cleaning up the messes underground. The state has legislation in place to prevent more damage to the environment. That's good.
Sanborn's had 30 years to do the upgrades. They didn't. This is the consequence. While it is sad and pulls at your heart for John Dearborn, the reality is that the property has environmental hazard issues and the state is enforcing the rules.
See what shows up where you live at this link: