Published on: 2003-11-10
Mother Nature has key role in cleanup
ABERDEEN - The groundwater beneath the Aberdeen pesticide dumps
will be cleaned through a natural filtration process that could take
20 to 50 years.
Federal environmental officials said the soil is now clean, but
harmful chemicals remain in the groundwater - including
Because of the size of the sites, pumping the water out and
treating it manually would take as long as natural filtration,
"The process is to allow Mother Nature to take its
course," said John Bornholm, the Environmental Protection Agency
project manager for the dumps.
The five dumps are among 1,200 sites on the EPA's list of Superfund
Located within 2 miles of each other off N.C. 5, the sites were
receptacles for DDT and other pesticides dumped by the old Farm
Chemical pesticide distribution plant beginning in the 1930s.
The Aberdeen dumps were discovered in the 1980s and placed on the
Superfund registry in 1989. They have been called the worst
hazardous-waste site in the state.
A consortium of companies cleaned the soil between 1997 and 1999.
Detoxifying the groundwater is not as easy or as fast.
Randy McElveen, who monitors the Aberdeen sites for the Superfund
section of the N.C. Division of Waste Management, said the soil
cleanup has helped stem groundwater contamination in the area. He said
the planting of more than 2,000 trees in 1998 to serve as a natural
water pump and filter has also helped.
He said no high concentrations of contaminants have been detected
in the water table since the soil cleanup.
Harry Huberth, president of Moore For a Clean Environment Inc.,
said he is pleased with the progress of the cleanup.
"I have no concern with the sites that were treated," he
said. "Our only concern is that due to the nature of the
business, there are probably some other undisclosed sites that we'll
have to deal with in the future."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Staff writer Michael Wagner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2003 The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer (http://www.fayettevillenc.com)