Havelock residents on old dump living in fear

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 05:49 PM.

A spokeswoman with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the latest testing revealed the need for more tests to assess possible health risks. However, she said she did not know when those tests would take place.

Residents in the area are also looking for someone to blame for allowing their homes to be constructed over an old dump site.

Cliff Parson, city attorney, said the dump existed before Havelock was incorporated in 1959, and that the city never owned the dump or used it. Though the area of the subdivision started being developed in 1966 and 1967, the city was not required to conduct tests below the surface of the soil prior to construction of homes in the early 1970s and therefore had no liability in the matter.

But beyond that, Parson said the city couldn’t take any action to fix any problems because of state statutes.

"It’s our conclusion that the city not only is not obligated to do anything, but is also not authorized to do anything," he said.

Still, City Manager Jim Freeman directed city grants writer and information officer Diane Miller to be the point of contact for residents with questions or comments on the issue.

Havelock received a $400,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to get an assessment of potentially hazardous sites within the city. Individual property owners on the old dump site could be considered, but so could other property in Havelock. Either way, the city wants to know about it.

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