The Environmental Protection Agency awarded Havelock with a $400,000 grant Friday, funds that will be used for testing at an abandoned recycling site.
According to state analyses, explosive levels of methane seep from trash piles near Tucker Creek Middle School. Although the EPA is now involved, some residents say progress is not moving fast enough.
"They could research until my grandkids are in college, and the situation will not change," Havelock resident Diana Parisi said. "It's an area that needs to be cleaned up, and it's an area that needs to be cleaned up now."
State authorities started testing the 34 acres in October 2010, finding arsenic above North Carolina standards in the soil and water. EPA tests will be more extensive, but 12 years after the site was abandoned, neighbors are ready to see money go to removing the eyesore.
"They should just go ahead and start cleaning up," concerned resident Noelani Whitley said. "We know what's there, and we want it gone."
North Carolina's Division of Waste Management said the area was hazardous, but not toxic enough to be put on its clean-up priority list. EPA tests need to be conducted before the agency can give clean-up funds. The total cost of reclaiming the site could reach an estimated $7 million.