HAVELOCK, N.C. -- City leaders are calling for a 34-acre dump site located just outside the city limits to be cleaned up. The site was a construction landfill for years, but after Hurricane Floyd, the state added debris from the storm.
Many of the trash piles were covered with mulch and vegetation, but a few weeks ago, the city caught people mining for scrap metal there. That exposed a lot of the trash underneath.
"Really this site has everything from electrical transformers plastic and even to include the kitchen sink," Havelock Assistant City Manager David Harvell said.
Harvell worries about stormwater runoff, groundwater contamination and what would happen if there was a hurricane.
"If there is a tropical event, this debris is going to spin out of control all over the neighborhoods, the schools and Highway 70," he said.
The site was officially closed in 2000, but for a decade there was nothing to keep people from coming back here. One of the main concerns is no one is sure what's in the trash.
"We don't know if it's a hazardous waste site or just an old closed out construction and debris site because for 10 years this site has been open," Harvell said.
The landfill is near Tucker Creek Middle School and a neighborhood. For years, kids have been coming to the site. Douglas Proctor said he used to hang out there.
"My friends and I would go back there and start playing. Basically I spent time when I wasn't at home over there," he said.
Abbi Desrosier moved to the Tucker Creek neighborhood five years ago and discovered the landfill on a walk. "There were just pools of water and trash for what looked like quite a way, and we were amazed to find that out and very unhappy about it, " she said.
The company that owned the site is now defunct, leaving the responsibility for the cleanup in question.
"The actual ownership and who is the owner is still kind of a gray area," said Harvell. "It's tied up in some various bankruptcy and litigation and some various lawsuits."
The answer to who will ultimately clean up the mess may be a long way off.
The land is outside Havelock's city limits. Craven County's manager said its the state's problem. State Rep. Alice Underhill said she will look into getting funds to clean up the site. Meanwhile, the city of Havelock wants residents to email their comments on the dump site to DMiller@havelocknc.us.