EPA chief tells Georgians that agency’s mission is public health

March 31, 2016 By Andy Miller

The EPA’s administrator told a gathering at Atlanta’s Morehouse School of Medicine on Thursday that she wants her organization viewed “as a public health agency.”

Gina McCarthy emphasized the importance of environmental effects on health at a roundtable discussion at Morehouse, which including medical students, local college professors and community activists.

The activists brought up problems related to the Proctor Creek Watershed, which McCarthy toured Thursday morning. It’s an area west of downtown Atlanta that has experienced poor water quality, pervasive flooding and sewage overflows. It has several so-called brownfields, sites where pollution makes future land use difficult.

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“We’re trying to address the communities that have been left behind … like Proctor Creek, where they are bearing disproportionate burdens,” McCarthy said.

Darryl Haddock of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance told GHN that water quality in the Proctor Creek area has improved but that the runoff from downtown Atlanta is a constant problem, creating mold in homes.

Debra Edelson of the Emerald Corridor Foundation added that while the sewage problem has been decreased significantly, “we’re not where we should be” in terms of preventing water runoff damage.

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