Local News

Task Force Tries To Get To Bottom Of Wake Pollution Scandal

Posted July 27, 2005 8:05 a.m. EDT

— Lake Crabtree used to be a fisherman's gold mine, but now there are signs warning people not to eat the fish. A task force is trying to get to the bottom of a 25-year-old pollution scandal.

Environmental officials blame the problem on a high concentration of polychlorinated biphenlys (PCBs), which are cancer-causing toxins.

Some point the finger at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which task force members say for the most part, did its research from an office in Pennsylvania.

"They didn't understand I've had people eating fish out these waters since the 1980s," said David Carter, director of Wake County Parks and Recreation Department. "We were told that there was no time to have a public meeting or public participation."

The EPA discovered the harmful agents in 2003 after collecting samples, but it is widely accepted by officials that dangerous levels of PCB have existed for more than 25 years.

Toxicologist Dr. James Sherman believes the source of the pollution is the Ward transformer site near RDU International.

"I was living and recreating in the middle of one of the most hazardous waste sites in the country without even knowing about it," he said.

A task force met Tuesday to discuss the issue. While there are no plans yet to clean up the pollution, the task force said it will continue to conduct its investigation.