Local News

Some Floyd Victims Say Soil Tainted

Posted Updated

ROCKY MOUNT — Public health is a major concern at a mobile home park for Hurricane Floyd victims. The people who live there are concerned the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) put them on dangerous soil.

The Hurricane Floyd Survivors Committee is using some pretty strong words, saying the ground on which their government-supplied mobile homes sit is on top of a former "toxic waste dump."

The state says that is not the right terminology.

It is a former compost pile, it says, which did have some pharmaceutical items recycled, as well as coal ash, gypsum molds and wood chips. But the state says everything is safe; the committee says the state should have told them before they moved in.

Park resident Vernice Lyons says she and her family have not experienced any provable health problems but she is angry the state put her in the trailer park in her time of need.

"Because when we were living in shelters, we didn't have any place else to go. It was like they were saying, 'Well, OK, we'll just put them anywhere,'" she says.

The state had the soil tested twice before anyone moved in last year. Neither test found any problem. Still, the committee says this park is an example of environmental racism.

"First thing, that's an attention getter. I don't really understand their definition of environmental racism, but clearly those people were not selected as a group to be put on that site to be put in any harm's way," says Doug Boyd, the temporary housing manager.

Residents WRAL spoke to said they have had no health problems, but they wish they had known about the site's history before they moved in.