Wausau environmental group gets $5,000 federal grant

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- The Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) has awarded Citizens for a Clean Wausau (CCW) a $5,000 grant to continue their watchdog environmental efforts in Wausau.

The group has primarily focused on projects in the southwest side of Wausau, especially soil concerns in the Thomas Street area. CCW spokesperson Tom Kilian says this grant will enable them to better educate their volunteer members and expand their reach into other areas.

"The grant will be used to help facilitate our strategic plan and also structure our expansion. An important part of that will actually be inviting seasoned experts from this arena to come and provide training and coaching to our group and how we facilitate greater community participation," Kilian said.

CCW was recently recognized by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council with a Citizen Openness Award for investigating soil contamination at the Wauleco-owned site at the intersection of Thomas Street and Cleveland Avenue, which prompted the Wisconsin DNR to open an investigation.

Kilian says they are in the process of looking deeper into a state health study regarding the Wausau Chemical Site that was supposed to have occurred more than a decade ago, but for which the state told him they could not find records. The site was identified as a Superfund site by the state and studies were supposed to have been done regarding cancer rates in the area, an issue that Kilian wants to be a focal point going forward with the grant funding.