Written by Joe Krzyston
After a multi-year assessment of Elizabeth Campus by the Environmental Protection Agency, the storied Roanoke College satellite has been placed on the federal Superfund list, fast-tracked for immediate cleanup due to pollution that is being described by officials as “unprecedented” and “profoundly dangerous.”
“We’ve seen chemical dumps, old factory sites, storage facilities, even nuclear sites, but none of them were quite like this,” an official from the agency said. “It didn’t look so bad at first, but then I went into one of the basements. Good Lord, I’ve never seen anything like it.” The official made his statements via telephone from Lewis Gale hospital, where he rests in stable condition. Doctors say he is suffering from the first recorded case of contact alcohol poisoning.
In the forty-eight year history of the Environmental Protection Agency, scores of properties have been deemed polluted enough to constitute a risk to the public wellbeing. These sites, designated as Superfund sites by the agency, are slated for cleanup as soon as possible. Since the establishment of the program, businesses, governments, and even private actors have produced waste substantial enough to merit Superfund designation. Until now, none of these sites has existed on a college campus.
Though the designation certainly carries some negative connotations, there has been something of a silver lining. Researchers from Roanoke College’s biology department have begun research on strange forms of life that have managed to find a niche in the depleted environment.
“It’s wild,” a professor of biology from behind a protective suit said. “It does appear that some form of life have managed to survive out here, and we’re trying to figure out how that happened. We’re not entirely sure yet, but we are seeing a correlation between long sleeved Vineyard Vines t-shirts, backward baseball caps, and an enhanced ability to survive, and even thrive, in this toxic little microcosm.”