MOREHEAD CITY, Carteret County - A company from Ohio will soon start importing fly ash through the Morehead City port.
The two-year lease with the N.C. Council of State was approved in June in a meeting of the board of directors. The lease is with Spartan Materials and allows Spartan LLC to import fly ash from India to use as an ingredient for making concrete.
"How are we going to handle this stuff?" Waterkeeper Larry Baldwin said. "Are there going to be potentials for this coal ash to be getting off the trucks, into communities, into waters when they're loading at the port? Is it something that's going to be done in a manner that's going to be safe?"
According to an employee with Spartan LLC, fly ash is currently classified as non-hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency. That makes Morehead City Mayor Jerry Jones feel a bit better about it, even though he said he didn't know about the situation either.
"The states or ports of somebody at the state level should have communicated with the local governments," Jones said. "The port of North Carolina, of Morehead City is located in Morehead City, so therefore I feel like we should have known about it before they made their announcement.
"Fly ash is a benign non-hazardous material as I understand it. It's just like importing exporting any other non-hazardous material through the port.
Spartan officials said the ash in North Carolina is currently in ponds and can't be used immediately. It needs to be separated, dried and in many cases burned again. The ash from India is already ready to be used.