Special Collection: Neodesha
Lucille Campbell is an alumnus of Southwestern College who credits this college with providing her the education and confidence to educate others about the community health consequences of pollution in Neodesha, Kansas. Lucille’s heartfelt hope is to see the pollution cleaned up and, until it is complete, the people of Neodesha and its watershed be relocated to safe ground and safe water.
Her efforts have been documented in a special collection that can be viewed online here. The collection has 57 folders.
Here is an article Lucille hoped to publish. Deets Library has a collection of newspaper articles, photos, more of Lucille’s writing, audio files of Lucille describing the materials, and transcripts of the audio files. The collection has been completely digitized. This is just one sample of a large collection of items.
The plume of pollution from the oil refinery tanks affects many residential areas and activities in Neodesha, KS. The community members who live, work, or drink water from the plume have an extremely high incidence of cancer and brain tumors. Lucille had a baby who died from leukemia in its first year of life. At the time of its death, her baby’s white count was 44,700.
Lucille has found and been given documents that define which agencies are responsible for clean up: “KDHE under the auspices of the EPA” is her summary. She attributes delays in the clean up process to city government officials who refused to accept Federal assistance (and designation as a “Superfund site”) and to former KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment) employee hired on to BP as a site manager at Neodesha, KS and Sugar Creek, MO who obfuscates rather than contributes to responsible clean up efforts on behalf of his employer. The documents can be found online through links provided in folder 55A here.