Pleased people don't tell many but people with complaints do.A word pair that was new to me, "past work" was a phrase I heard when reporting concerns local home owners had on the yard remediation conducted on their property or near it. The concerns were really complaints with suggestions for change, which is another way to say "fix it" and this is how.
EPA has been doing yard remediation in Ottawa County since 1995. They have sampled lots of yards and many of them have tested high enough in lead to have had to be dug up and replaced. There have been times contractors really messed up but there are more times where the property owners were satisfied even pleased with the results. EPA had paid the contractors for years, but last October that responsibility was given to the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. The question of who answers for "past work" became pivotal with this change for resolution.
Pleased people don't tell many but people with complaints do.
We want that to happen because satisfied people may not talk, but they don't destroy hope for answers, hope for resolution to yard pollution or harm children by discouraging others to try that phone call to ask EPA to send someone to sample their yard.
I was trained in the 90's in Say It Straight, a communication style and though I can struggle to kick it into gear, it rarely lets me down. Speak from your heart and your words can be clearly understood, speak that way as an equal, speak without anger and on point. Problems can be resolved. Stress lowered, perhaps lives protected. Certainly the training has changed my life. I still sit on the front row to ask questions more easily, but this is coming from a person who transferred two colleges to avoid speech classes. I even transferred from the University of Texas because they had a swimming requirement. If I couldn't speak in front of people, how on earth could I swim in front of them? I was cripplingly shy.
I joined Teacher Corps, spent two years in Southern Colorado living along the San Juan River which adjoins the now contaminated Animas River on the Southern Ute Reservation in a town of 300 people because I failed to ask more questions. I spent two years practice teaching with every day in a classroom stressed to teach my lessons. After graduation, I knew I would never be a teacher because it required TALKING. But during all that I learned that my gift might not have been talking but it was listening and educational counseling was the right fit.
After speaking with many people about the upcoming 17th National Environmental Tar Creek Conference, I called Richard Adams to make sure he knew it was September 29-30. He manages the chat sales operation for Flint Rock. He began working there about the time I had completed Say It Straight training, so talking with him has never been difficult. I may not agree with the use of chat as a material and wish it could all be scraped back into the mines, but that is not the way the world is at this time. He always reminds me of the early encounters we had and the discussions we were able to have. Chat sales is part of the official EPA solution to the pollution at the Tar Creek Superfund site. It was estimated that LOTS of the chat remaining on the 40 square miles would be sellable and very profitable to those owners with the biggest piles. It hasn't been working out that way, much of it is not sellable and will have to be removed to clean this place up.
It is happening, properties on a grand scale are changing. Take a good look around that land formation you took for granted may soon be gone. I won't say I will miss any of it, but know landscapes can be missed. The Quapaw Tribe has their sights set on cleaning up their piece of the mess. You are going to see lots more changes out there among the piles.
Do your part, call Bob Sullivan at 800-533-3508 and have your yard sampled. If you had work done on your property or if work was done NEAR your property and that work has impacted your property, that would be considered "past work" and EPA would like to hear about it, call that same number. If you are pleased with the "past work" and want a sign for your remediated yard with "Lead Safe Yard" call 918-542-9399 and we will give you one. We have a limited number but one of these wants to be in your yard. Pleased people don't talk much, but the sign can.
If you have children aged six and under, it is important to have their blood lead tested. It'd be great to see signs all over town that say, "Lead Free Child" too!