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EQ: No Contamination Found at Apex Fire Site

Posted March 30, 2007
Updated March 31, 2007

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— A state-required investigation has determined there to be no contamination at the site of chemical fire that forced thousands of Apex residents from their homes in the middle of the night.

Environmental Quality Industrial Services says the report detailing the investigation is consistent with more than 2 million air, soil, surface and ground water samples that the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources collected in and around homes and buildings near the site. All the tests came back negative, EQ said.

North Carolina's Division of Waste Management, however, must study the report to make that final determination. It could come within the next month, waste management spokeswoman Cathy Akroyd said.

The waste management division requires companies to conduct post-incident site investigations, Akroyd said, and they are a standard procedure for incidents like the EQ fire.

The hazardous-waste transfer facility caught fire on Oct. 5, prompting as many as 17,000 people to leave their homes for two nights because town officials did not know what was burning.

“We hope this report will calm fears and bring closure to the concerns of the community," said Scott Maris, vice president of regulatory affairs for EQ.

Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly told WRAL on Friday that the report is good news for the town but still agrees with the DENR's proposed termination of EQ's permit allowing it to operate with hazardous materials at that location.

The company has not decided whether it will reopen the facility, but Apex officials have been adamant in opposing any reopening.

On Oct. 25, the DENR suspended EQ's permit-to-operate because the site was considered an imminent hazard. Earlier this month, DENR levied a $553,440 fine against the company.

"The Division of Waste Management stands behind both the proposed permit termination and penalty issued against the EQ Apex facility earlier this month based on violations of the hazardous-waste management regulations," Liz Cannon, hazardous waste section chief with the Division of Waste Management, said Friday. "We have received no information that would cause us to reconsider either of our actions."

According to DENR’s, “Hazardous Waste Section Civil Penalty Assessments,” from 1999 to 2007, no other permits have been revoked and the largest penalty assessed was $159,997 for nine serious violations at another facility in North Carolina.


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  • watchdog Apr 4, 2007

    Apex is full of hazards, from the Nuclear Plant to Dixie Pipeline to the tank farms and even the railroad running directly through the center of town. For a 'small' town, it certainly has its fair share of hazards.

    TheDevil.... yes I have dealt with Chlorine, but not because I wanted to.

  • TheDevil90210 Apr 2, 2007


    But when you can pervent certain things. Isn't that Good? Dont be stupid, we know there are dangerous situations everywhere, but there are precautions taken. EQ decided to turn the other way. They didn't take the precautions, if they did we wouldn't be in this mess. Remember that NO SMOKING sign? Yea it was put there so explosions at Gas Stations won't happen.

  • superman Apr 2, 2007

    I guess they should close all the gas stations within the city limits-- Gas fumes can explode. If someone wanted to blow up the town-- just run into a gas pump. They can turn on the gas pump and drop a match. Lots of things can happen! You people live your life in fear that something might happen. You could have an accident on your way home and you wouldnt have to work about EQ, or whether what school schedule your children were assigned. You folks should go around town and make a list of all the places you want to see closed. Paint stores are full of dangerous chemicals. And the beat goes on!

  • CherryDarling Apr 1, 2007

    okay... it has been MONTHS since this happened.

    What if they HAD found contamination still there?
    What about the residents who are living in that area?

    Guess they would have been SOL, huh?

  • TheDevil90210 Apr 1, 2007

    Independent Thinker,

    I really like what you had to say.

    Watchdog, have you ever dealt with Chlorine? You don't have to inhale much to have problems. I have inhaled it before and have gotten sick. I have had liquid Chlorine all over me, and it burns like no other. Them just having it at that site is dangerous enough. Chlorine vapors will be gone within a few hours. It may not have a High level, but it doesn't have to be a High level, to have an effect on people. I dealt with small amounts of Chlorine. Gas, Liquid, and Granular, it doesn't have to be a lot.

  • Gotz Mar 31, 2007

    watchdog...all i'm saying is don't blame the media for someone else's error. the media didn't make any of this up...they reported what information was being diseminated at the time. and this location was known to have problems...just not the right people knew about them!

  • independent_thinker Mar 31, 2007

    "It's funny how people wait until something goes wrong to worry about a company."

    I don't live in Apex, and apparently neither do you. So...we get to carry on a theoretical discussion on the topic; essentially philosophy. For Apex residents, it's part of their life, investment, and community.

    Potentially impacted Apex residents have a right to be concerned, not paranoid; but certainly expecting appropriate answers, checks and balances.

    EQ is a company with a history of problems elsewhere. Many companies are well managed, but this one appears to have more ethical and legal flexibility than most.

  • rainy39 Mar 31, 2007

    Might I add the company should have been paying us hazard pay and letting us know what chemicals we were working with and didnt. They have a class action law suit now but that doesnt do much for the ones sick or dead.

  • rainy39 Mar 31, 2007

    I used to work in a demil plant(dearming military ammo)and we worked with lots of chemicals. Until you have the effects of chemicals in your body that are destroying your insides (that you weren't aware were present)then you dont know. I worked for 8 bucks and hour and now lots of the ppl I used to work with (young and old alike)are dead. Just because you cant see danger doesnt mean it isnt there.

  • watchdog Mar 31, 2007

    Hmm... pretty interesting that none of the initial samples taken by on scene haz-mat indicated any abnormally high levels of chlorine within this "chlorine gas cloud." True, they were called out to investigate a chemical odor and then discovered this cloud, but never once did the haz-mat guys on scene confirm any high readings of chlorine.