Local News

Threat Of Contaminated Water Latest Concern For Granville Residents

Posted October 31, 2003 7:56 a.m. EST

— There are more concerns for Granville County residents who built their homes near an old military firing range and had hoped the federal government would help them.

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

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

The government agency that is supposed to clean up the old munitions offers little 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 that the project is millions of dollars short.

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

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

"The camp was abandoned in 1945 and some small signs nailed to trees about unexploded 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, the warnings of leftover shells were included in deeds. When the land was later split into lots and sold, those warnings had apparently vanished, leaving the Blalocks and other homeowners to live on risky ground.

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