Residents complaints lead to an investigation of PRVO property

COLUMBIA,MS (WDAM) -  Documents from the Coalition of Communities for Environmental Justice state that  the residents who live in Pearl River Valley Opportunity's property, Vickers Estates, are asking the Coalition along with HUD to investigate the environmental safety of PRVO's properties.

Here in a statement by Environmental Justice, Tennie White, it says, "PRVO allowed substandard construction practices which have promoted flooding of the streets and sewer back up into homes at Vickers Estates," said White.

It goes on to say ,"other PRVO developments in Columbia and several in Hattiesburg experience similar conditions, some of which are located near hazardous waste facilities, and a dump site." White goes on to mention incidents of children with Leukemia at Vickers Estate near the Hercules Plant.

Executive Director of PRVO, Helmon Johnson says the company is open to any investigation.

"First off, we welcome investigations because we are a transparent organization, and certainly have nothing to hide. As far as the subdivision is concerned we feel everything there is perfectly safe and sound," said Johnson.

Johnson says he feels strongly about the Vickers property being safe environmentally, because the company can't build any houses until MDEQ gives the ok.

"We had to get the department of environmental quality to give us clearance. They did a whole lot of evaluating, and the normal thing that they do to see that the site is hazardous clear. So, we had the clearance from them prior to getting started," said Johnson.

For Johnson there needs to be proof from anyone claiming contamination on the property.

"For somebody to just go out and say that the site is contaminated and they have no proof that is wrong, and irresponsible. They shouldn't be saying that," said Johnson.

As for the residents of Vickers Estates, Johnson says if the talk of contamination is going to effect their decision to continue to reside in the homes he has an option they can consider.

"What I say to them is that these houses are lease purchase. They signed a lease that they wanted to purchase this house and own it one day. If they have no intentions of doing that then they need to leave," said Johnson.

Johnson says this was the first he heard of the complaints with the Coalition of Communities for Environmental Justice.