Activists Wanted: Cabot’s-Koppers Superfund Site (Gainesville, FL)


[The following–lightly edited for style, not for content–was sent in from Fans of Wild Iris Books, a bookstore and cafe catering to the gay/lesbian/hippie/alternative religion community of Gainesville, FL, as well as colleagues, cohorts, confidants, co-conspirators and other sympathetic parties.

The saga of the state’s Superfund sites has seen vast, wide, prolific explication, but there is always more to that story. There are two rallies planned for the next couple of weeks, and the store has plenty of extra information. I would encourage any readers in the beautiful Gainesville area to get involved, especially the young activists related to UF, SFSC and the glorious Civic Media Center. Also curious for insight from anyone who specializes in these issues. ]

Have you heard about the TOXIC Cabot’s-Koppers Superfund Site right here in Gainesville??? If not, here are the basics. Located in the heart of Gainesville, the Koppers Superfund Site is listed as one of the EPA’s top toxic sites and has been polluting Gainesville since 1983.

The site is releasing over 32 pollutants/toxins including Cresote, Napthalen, Carcinogenic aromatic chemicals, Dioxins, Copper Arsenate and Arsenic. Huge clouds of highly toxic, carcinegenic dioxin-laden dust regularly blow off the site into and throughout Gainesville. Our soil and air have already been polluted and soon these toxins will pollute our water supply as well.

Koppers will not leave town and clean the site unless WE rally and demand that authories take charge of the situation and protect the health of our citizens. We need volunteers to make calls to Gainesville residents alerting them of the danger and encouraging them to take part in several rallies to continue to garner public and media attention and force Koppers into action. You can also purchase support T-Shirts at Wild Iris Books for only $15 and the proceeds will benefit the costly legal help that we will need to fight for this cause.

Never phonebanked? Don’t worry; we will provide you with phone scripts and answers to all the questions that people may ask. All you need is a desire to save Gainesville from these pollutants. YOU can make a difference in protecting OUR community.

Find out more information about the site here:

Please think about volunteering to make some phone calls and help get the message out that Gainesville will not stand for the poisoning of our soil, air, and water. WE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. No amount of time is too small, even a couple of phone calls can help spread the word. Please forward this message on to anyone who may be interested in helping.

10/24 – 200 NW 23rd Ave (by Koppers Main Entrance)
9:00am – 1:00pm

10/29 – City/County Koppers Hearing, County Building, Downtown Gainesville
4:00pm Onwards

11/7 – 200 NW 23rd Ave (by Koppers Main Entrance)
9:00am – 1:00pm

Signs will be provided – just bring yourself!

Erica Merrell
Friends of Wild Iris

3 responses »

  1. I am student at University of Florida and just recently learned of the Cabot SuperFund site though my Arts & Ecology class. I cannot believe that I’m only learning of this now as a Senior, and I feel there is not antiquate attention focused on this issue and I often wonder how many more students are there like me? I have sent letters to Senior Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Clifford B. Stearns and Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan to notify them of my concern. I feel as though letters are not enough to telling the story of those affected. I wish to do a Photography series with stories from people who live in the Stephan Foster Neighborhood and how it has effect their life. In hopes to bring awarness to the UF community as well as to city officials that they may realize the magnitude of the problem. Do you know of anyone who would be interested in speaking with me about how the site as affected their lives personally? Please contact me at

    Thank you,

    Kelly Sims

  2. Sadly I’m just hearing about Cabot-Koppers health issues. I was born and raised at 4th/32nd street in the Stephen Foster neighborhood. Koppers backed up to our backyard. We as children PLAYED inside the Kopper worksite and in the hogtown creek. My brother and I know that property like the back of our hands, we are now 53 yr old. My parents still live there.
    My brother and I both have serious health issues and live in Orlando now. I would love to help in anyway I can and information you can share would be very help.
    Thank you in advance,
    Karen gunter

    • Hello Ms.Gunter!
      I’m currently a journalism student at the University of Florida and am doing a piece on the Cabot/Koppers superfund site. I was wondering if you had a couple of minutes in which I could call you, or possibly meet with you in Gainesville, and talk to you about your experience about the superfund site. Please e-mail me at if you would be willing to do a phone interview.

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