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EPA clearing 20-year-old chemicals from Rocky Mount land

Posted July 7, 2011
Updated July 8, 2011

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— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working to remove hundreds of barrels of chemicals that have sat more than 20 years at a fenced-in private property at the end of Romie Lane in Rocky Mount street.

EPA officials said Thursday that they found five abandoned trailers filled with 400 55-gallon oil drums containing a wide range of chemicals, including solvents, strong acids, organic peroxide and some unknowns.

Authorities became aware of the trailers after a man purchased one of them from the land's owner, who had taken over the land after his father died.

Some of the chemicals had to be detonated to be disposed of properly, authorities said. It could take another 30 days before the site is cleared.

In the meantime, the agency is conducting air quality tests every few hours for contamination. The county is also testing well water as a precaution.

Resident Holly Schuman said she became concerned last week after hearing a blast in the area and seeing EPA representatives in the field at all hours of the night.

"We didn't know what it was, but we saw the bomb squad down here, two sheriff's cars and ambulances, and we were concerned about the noise," she said.

She said she was relieved to know that authorities are now taking care of what could have been a very dangerous situation.

"Now that I know what's going on, I feel a lot better about this," she said.

15 Comments

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  • scifion Jul 8, 2011

    "Detonation doesn't seem like a great way to dispose of chemicals but what do I know?"

    Organic peroxides that old are dangerous to move. Detonation makes stable compounds in a literal flash, and is only dangerous in the immediate vicinity, which can be cleared and made safe.

    Hank, looks like this was a case of "what you didn't know thankfully didn't hurt you". I'm glad it's hazmat people dealing with that stuff than some irresponsible or malicious people finding it.

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 8, 2011

    This stuff was put there by somebody. I'm sure with a little effort they'll find the person or business.

  • flyNC Jul 8, 2011

    thanks for this article

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Jul 8, 2011

    Detonation doesn't seem like a great way to dispose of chemicals but what do I know?

  • Jul 8, 2011

    Now that she knows what's going on she feels a lot better about this. But the chemicals have been there for 20 years.

  • Jul 8, 2011

    "Now that I know what's going on, I feel a lot better about this," she said.

    NOW she feels better? The chemicals have been there for 20 years!

  • haggis basher Jul 8, 2011

    "Seems like the cost should be paid by the landowner, not the taxpayers."

    And if they don't have the money we'll just let it leak into the water supply?.....cleanup is likely to cost way more than the land is worth and would just tempt land owners to truck the stuff out and dump it in a river.

  • Nope Jul 8, 2011

    Seems like the cost should be paid by the landowner, not the taxpayers.

  • geosol Jul 8, 2011

    They would have cleaned it up all by themselves had the evil government not gotten involved. All someone had to do was say "pretty, pretty please?" Now let's get back to that serious little right wing business of firing workers to improve those unemployment numbers again. Oh, and we've got to reduce tax revenue in order to improve the budget deficit. yay

  • haggis basher Jul 8, 2011

    And some fool want to get rid of the EPA.............who else but gov. could handle this sort of thing?

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