Neighbors hoping for resolution to subdivision built on landfill

POSTED: 6:28 PM May 27 2013   UPDATED: 11:25 PM Jul 10 2013
HAVELOCK -

Testing continues in the Woodhaven subdivision. The neighborhood sits on top of an old dump site which could date back tot he 40s.

Concerned neighbors from the area met with officials with the City of Havelock on June 10th to see what could be done about it. However, those city officials say it's not the city's problem. The site was a landfill before Havelock was established.

Crews are clearing parts of wooded area in the neighborhood, digging into the ground to test it for harmful chemicals.

Warren Salter, who has lived in the neighborhood since 2001, says the area of the dump site is bigger than state investigators originally thought.

"They've cut a swath through the woods here. To look for where the dump site lines are," Salter said. "It still doesn't give us any answers to what's going to be done to finally resolve the issue."

Previous Story: A Craven County neighborhood has tainted soil according to a North Carolina Division of Waste Management investigation report.

Soil samples collected from property in the Woodhaven subdivision in Havelock showed levels of harmful chemicals such as Antimony, Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead. The report, which is dated April 22, 2013, covers a 9.7 acres area in the subdivision.

Those living in the neighborhood have been aware they were living on top of an old landfill for years. Broken and melted glass, spark plugs, car hoods, and baby food jars have all been reportedly dug up by people living in the affected area. It is even rumored an old school bus is buried somewhere in the area. Nothing has been done yet to clean up the ground.

One Woodhaven resident said he's been digging up large metal scrap since 2003.

"When I put my flag pole in, I found 3 pieces of steel and a bottle of Golden Cola," Salter said. "That Golden Cola probably hasn't been around for 30 or 40 years."

Neighbors also said many plants on the affected area don't live very long.

"Some people can't even get a tree to grow. They die," Salter said.

A William Lewis, A Havelock commissioner, said it's unclear what the responsibility of the city is yet. The dump site existed before Havelock became a city and landfills weren't regulated until the early 60s.

Salter said it's still the city's responsibility to warn people who are moving into the neighborhood. Salter thinks the chemicals and hidden trash have lowered the property value of houses in the neighborhood.

"That's destroyed our property values here. I just don't see any way to sell this place and disclose that information," Salter said. "The builder who built this should've known better."