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Oral history interview with Helen DuTeau

  • 2014-Mar-13

Helen DuTeau has been working with Superfund community involvement programs in the Environmental Protection Agency for more than twenty years. She explains the law that cites community involvement as an important factor in educating and engaging communities throughout the cleanup process. She describes the process of designing a community involvement plan and the points at which the community is encouraged to comment on the EPA's work. DuTeau has to balance communities' interests with the requirements of the law. She emphasizes that flexibility is the key to a successful remediation. Communities often form an advisory group (CAG), and host meetings in which citizens voice their opinions. Communication between EPA and CAG is crucial, especially in the early stages. DuTeau oversees community involvement activities for Superfund BoRit in Ambler, Pennsylvania, where asbestos-containing waste materials were accumulated. BoRit has an active and knowledgeable CAG. West Ambler, the community most directly affected, has two representatives in the CAG. Although the remedial investigation and feasibility study are not yet complete, the EPA has done extensive removal work at the site and residents are looking forward to a restoration of Whitpain Park.

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