Collegeville residents discuss health issues caused by chemicals in soil

Community members react to B'ham lawmaker admitting to bribery

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Collegeville residents are speaking out about health issues they believe are connected to chemicals in the soil in their homes.

This comes after former Birmingham lawmaker Oliver Robinson told a federal jury, "I was bribed and I sold out my community."

Robinson has pled guilty to accepting $360,000 to help block an EPA Superfund site for Tarrant and parts of North Birmingham. Residents in Collegeville and other areas have been fighting to a cleanup believing they were affected by chemicals in the soil in their homes.

Diana Robinson and her husband Roderick Golden have lived in Collegeville for about 20 years. She has developed health problems over the years.

"I have cancer. I'm a diabetic. I had four surgeries," Diana Robinson said.

Robinson and her husband believe she was affected by chemicals from nearby plants.

"Her kidney was failing. So now she is now on dialysis that is constant thing every week. she has to go to dialysis three days a week," Golden said.

The couple voted for Rep. Oliver Robinson. They were shocked at his guilty plea and his admission of selling out his community.

"I'm disappointed because I voted for Oliver Robinson. I knew Oliver Robinson since he was at Woodlawn High School playing basketball. I really thought he was a good representative for the people. He really let us down," Golden said.

"He should have never did it. he should have never did it. With the community you should stay behind your people," Robinson said.

Her cousin who is 89 years old and lives a short distance away from Robinson is also disappointed in the former lawmaker.

"What was supposed to be done. Things where supposed to be done in this neighborhood and I know things didn't happen," Johnny Robinson said.

Shirley Walker said she could smell something like gas when was growing up in Collegeville. She didn't think it was harmful then, but as an adult she learned the harmful effects. Not only has she gotten sick but so did her mother.

"My mother had multiple myeloma, bone cancer. my mother had kidney disease my mother had a triple heart bypass those things those diagnoses were on the letters that we got," Walker said.

Her yard and the home next door both contaminated.

Walker, like many in the community Oliver Robinson was supposed to represent and support, are disappointed and shocked at his guilty plea and his admission of selling out his community.

"To get paid as they say he did to lie to  people about not signing up for it I really think that was wrong," Walker said. "Why would a black man who are representing us would take money from these men and tell us to not have anything to do with it?"

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