DEPUE — Supporters of cleaning up Lake DePue are turning to the Internet and social media for a little help.
Last week a new website and a new Facebook page were introduced to get out the word about what is happening with the clean-up project and to keep interest strong among supporters.
The new website — www.cleanupdepue.org — was created through the work of the Northwestern Law Bluhm Legal Clinic, which has been advising the village during the clean-up process.
The website includes residents telling stories, a contamination map that illustrates the 1,976 samples collected throughout decades by contractors for ExxonMobil and CBS that document toxic soil and water pollution throughout the village. The map shows exactly which contaminants were found in each sample, and the health risks of residents’ prolonged exposure to these contaminants.
"I think the message is there," said DePue Village President Eric Bryant. "If people want to go there, there's a lot of good information on the site."
DePue students contributed to the website, which also includes a virtual tour of the town.
“We are raising awareness and raising funds, so we can hire experts to reply to ExxonMobil and CBS’ faulty science,” Bryant said. "We also need Illinois EPA to hold their feet to the fire.”
Nancy Loeb, of the Northwestern Bluhm Legal Clinic and pro-bono counsel for the village, said the Illinois EPA has had the responsibility for the oversight of the work.
"For most of that time, the Illinois EPA ádid little to force ExxonMobil and CBS Viacom to fulfill this order. Now, with a new Illinois EPA administration pushing them finally to meet the requirements of the Consent Order, ExxonMobil and CBS Viacom are continuing to minimize the risks to human health and the environment and to set the groundwork for leaving the contaminated waste where it is,” Loeb said. "
Loeb also criticized CBS and ExxonMobil for their methods for looking at risk.
“In determining whether a person is exposed to potentially harmful levels of toxic pollutants, CBS and ExxonMobil are counting each exposure as if it were an isolated incident, and pretending that residents are exposed only to a single contaminant and only in one area of the town," she said. "Any realistic assessment of health risks has to take these multiple, constant and long-term exposures into account.”
in conjunction with the new website, Hugo Heredia of IN Visual Technologies of Spring Valley created the Cleanup DePue community Facebook page, which already has 327 likes.
On Thursday, Heredia said he created the Facebook page to promote the website. He and his wife Jenn monitor the site as well as the Save Lake DePue Facebook group page.
In addition to promoting the website, Heredia said there would be new content on the Facebook page.
"We are going to do biweekly updates for people about the site, the CAG, and other issues and events happening," Heredia said.
Heredia said he filmed the first clip with Bryant Wednesday and hoped to have it up by Friday. He said Fridays are good days because many people seem to look at Facebook during the weekend.
"Facebook s a great place to build momentum and to keep people positive," Heredia said. "They can see what's happening without being there."
If the new Facebook page gets a good following, Heredia plans to create other pieces for the site pertinent to DePue. On the Save Lake DePue Facebook page, Heredia said people can help with the fight to clean-up Lake DePue in the following ways:
• Sign the Clean Up DePue petition.
- Forward the videos and website to friends and share on social media.
- Make a donation to the Clean Up Lake DePue Fund (donations are tax deductible).
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