A state official said Monday that cadmium levels in soil borings on property on the edge of an old dump site in the Woodhaven community exceed state groundwater standards.
Cathy Akroyd, a public information officer with the N.C. Division of Environment and National Resources, said that the lot, located on Belltown Road, was unoccupied and undeveloped.
The findings are expected to be included in a report on the old dump site that is expected to be completed in a couple of months.
According to Akroyd, all of the residents on nearby Tall Pine Road in the Woodhaven subdivision use Havelock city water and do not drink from wells, which could be impacted by the cadmium in the groundwater.
"The bottom line is that nobody is drinking this water. Everybody is on city water," she said.
A team of two state officials from the pre-regulatory landfill program at the Division of Waste Management conducted the last phase of field work last week.
"That field work is designed for delineating the boundaries of the waste so we can go forward," Akroyd said.
The officials took soil borings on properties that were on the perimeter of the nearly 10-acre dump site that straddles Belltown Road just south of Tall Pine Road.
"Among all the lots that were tested, only one had a slight detection of cadmium in the groundwater," Akroyd said.
The detected level was 3.5 parts per billion, which exceeds the state standard of two parts per billion, she said.
"It’s not a high detection," Akroyd said. "It’s important to note that nobody lives on that lot."
The final report is expected to be completed in about two months.
"When we see that report, that will inform us as to what the next task will be in the next phase for assessment," Akroyd said.
Residents of Tall Pine Road complained in March of 2012 of sink holes in their yards and found evidence of trash ranging from old spark plugs and bottles to automobile parts.
Some residents had complained about the amount of time it took for the state to conduct an investigation.
"While it seems like a lengthy process, we have to follow certain parameters and certain protocols, but we are right on schedule for that," Akroyd said.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the Centers for Disease Control, cadmium is a natural element found in the earth’s crust, though it is used in the manufacture of batteries, pigments, metal coatings and plastics. People can be exposed by eating foods containing cadmium, like shellfish, liver or kidney meats. Cadmium is also found in cigarette smoke. Long-term damage can result in damage to lungs and possibly could lead to kidney disease, but cadmium is not considered carcinogenic.