Local News

Buried Debris Forces Out Bragg Families

Posted November 29, 2007

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Eleven families have had to move out of housing on Fort Bragg in recent weeks because construction waste was illegally buried in their yards, officials said Thursday.

Three families along Bandolier Circle were relocated in August, and eight families on Market Loop in the Nijmegen neighborhood were packing up their belongings Thursday to move to other houses on and off the military post. Another 59 families have been placed on alert that they also might be forced to move.

"It's just a lot of moving. All the time, all the time, all the time," said Darcia Bailey, who had just moved into a house at Fort Bragg last year and was getting ready to move again Thursday.

Residents alerted Fort Bragg officials about possible problems when sinkholes began appearing in their yards. Officials then discovered debris like concrete, bricks, tree branches, carpeting and old appliances was buried on sites where military housing has been built in recent years.

None of the construction waste poses a health hazard, officials said.

Lake Park, Fla.-based Palm Beach Grading Inc. has been blamed for the illegal dumping, which occurred in late 2004 and early 2005. The company is a subcontractor for Picerne Military Housing, which is building thousands of new homes on Fort Bragg for Army personnel and their families.

It's unclear how widespread the problem is and whether any houses would have to be razed as part of the clean-up effort.

"When we get to the point where we've identified material underneath houses – we are still doing that right now – we're going to assess all our options, not necessarily knocking houses down," said Kurt Ehlers, who heads Picerne's operations at Fort Bragg.

"Right now, we're in the investigation stage of this process, trying to identify all of the areas that would have illegally buried debris," he said. "Until we understand the full extent of the buried debris, it would be speculation as to how many families – if additional families – would have to be moved."

Palm Beach Grading was digging up yards Thursday to remove the waste, and Ehlers said the company is paying for the entire cost of the clean-up.

"The Army, the Bragg community and families living on Fort Bragg will not incur any costs associated with this remediation," he said.

Contractors are required to haul construction debris to a landfill, and Fort Bragg provides a free landfill on the base for such waste. Ehlers said it's unclear why the subcontractor didn't follow procedures.

Palm Beach Grading officials couldn't be reached for comment.

“We have very good systems and controls and processes in place to oversee and monitor contracted work. This was illegally dumped and disposed of material,” Ehlers said.

Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum said the Army Criminal Investigation Command has launched an investigation into the dumping, but no charges have been filed yet. The base also has terminated all contracts with Palm Beach Grading, officials said.

"I just thought, 'Who could do something like that,' especially, you know, (to) military families because it hurts us in the long run, having to move after somebody's done something like that," Bailey said.

14 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Viewer Nov 29, 2007

    I wonder if the Army cut some corners by not having an adequate construction inspection program. It would not appear that they saved the taxpayers any money.

  • rnsjr Nov 29, 2007

    My guess is that our hard working hispanics built those houses. Look around wake co and see who's building all the houses. um..... cheap labor.

  • Adelinthe Nov 29, 2007

    "A couple lazy employees screwed it up for everyone. The employer certainly wouldn't have instructed anyone to bury debris since Fort Bragg provides a landfill. My guess is it was quicker at the end of the workday to bury rather than transport to the landfill."

    How do you know that? Or are ya just guessing???

    Guessing is gossiping you know.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Bilbo Nov 29, 2007

    A couple lazy employees screwed it up for everyone. The employer certainly wouldn't have instructed anyone to bury debris since Fort Bragg provides a landfill. My guess is it was quicker at the end of the workday to bury rather than transport to the landfill.

    In the private sector a contractor would save money since it costs big $ to landfill construction debris.

  • dell Nov 29, 2007

    Ehlers said it's unclear why the subcontractor didn't follow procedures.==== Excuse me Mr. Ehlers......Who's in charge here. Looks like you are. You didn't notice any dumping going on at thses building sites?

  • simracer68 Nov 29, 2007

    Picerne should be held accountable, but will not be fired. The military has too much going on with them nationwide, not to mention locally near Ft Bragg. Google their name, click on their "military housing" link, prepare to be amazed. Also, check out livelindenoaks dot com. It's between Ft Bragg and Sanford on NC 87, and is just starting up. Estimated total units at completion: 1500+. Even with their screwups, they aren't going anywhere.

  • BUCKEYEnNC Nov 29, 2007

    I agree with Rev RB.

    It's always interesting how a contractor can blame a sub for problems. You hire them, you should supervise them.

    Both the contractor and the sub should be fined and no longer allowed to bid on govt contracts!

  • craziecrafter Nov 29, 2007

    My husband is a vice president for a local builder. If his subcontractors ever buried waste they would be fired immediately. They either haul the trash to the dump or burn it. That grading company needs to be fined and fired. I would also look into why the main building contractor allowed it.

  • Adelinthe Nov 29, 2007

    "Lake Park, Fla.-based Palm Beach Grading Inc. has been blamed for the illegal dumping. The company is a subcontractor for Picerne Military Housing, which is building thousands of new homes on Fort Bragg for Army personnel and their families."

    These companies should be heavily fined and stripped of all current and future government contracts anywhere. PERIOD!!!

    Someone could have gotten hurt, and may still.

    Praying for these families and thanking God that the military is doing the right thing for them, for a change.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • OLD PIRATE Nov 29, 2007

    Why are the families having to move??? every home in NC has construction waste buried around it...

More...