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Threat Of Contaminated Water Latest Concern For Granville Residents

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BUTNER, N.C. — There are more concerns for Granville County residents who built their homesnear an old military firing range and had hoped the federal government wouldhelp them.

A World War II munitions range in Granville County is much more than ahistorical footnote. It is making life miserable for the people who like theserenity of a gravel road with its one-lane bridge.

Warning signs have replaced welcome signs and fears of stepping on anunexploded shell from the old Camp Butner keep homeowners like Amy Blalockfrom taking a walk.

The government agency that is supposed to clean up the old munitions offerslittle encouragement.

"I have to tell you that we were extremely disheartened," Blalock said.

This week, the Army Corp of Engineers told Blalock and other homeowners thatthe project is millions of dollars short.

"In addition to having lots of unexploded bombs in the ground possibly, wewere made aware last night there could be hazardous and toxic waste in theground water due to the bombs that are leaking their chemicals into theground," Blalock said.

The Army Corp also told the Blalocks they should have never been allowed tobuild their house here.

"The camp was abandoned in 1945 and some small signs nailed to trees aboutunexploded ordinances possibilities and over the years have disappeared,"said Ron Alligood, county commissioner.

The Army Corps has insisted that when the Army gave up the land, thewarnings of leftover shells were included in deeds. When the land was latersplit into lots and sold, those warnings had apparently vanished, leaving theBlalocks and other homeowners to live on risky ground.

The Blalock's say the threat of dangerous shells and contaminated watermeans they may never be able to sell their home.