Few attend public hearing on DuPont Forest cleanup

Map of area to be remediated. Graphic from draft remediation plan by Pioneer Technologies Corporation

A “doughnut hole” of contamination in DuPont State Recreational Forest likely will be cleaned up in the coming year as a remediation plan moves forward.

State officials held a public comment session on Thursday, Dec. 1 at the Transylvania County Public Library, but only a half dozen people attended and just one came forward to comment.

T.R. Clever of Hendersonville, a retired chemical engineer, commented that he was concerned that oversight of the area might be lax.

“Here in Western North Carolina, when people see a fence and a sign not to dig, the first reaction tends to be to jump it and start digging,” he said.

T.R. Clever of Hendersonville  comments on the final draft plan for cleanup of the "doughnut hole" of contamination at DuPont State Recreational Forest. Photo by Leslie Boyd
T.R. Clever of Hendersonville comments on the final draft plan for cleanup of the “doughnut hole” of contamination at DuPont State Recreational Forest. Photo by Leslie Boyd

Later, state officials assured him the site will be monitored by the Forest Service and the Division of Waste Management.

Clever also asked for more information on how contaminated groundwater is being addressed. Officials detailed the carbon filters in place to remove chemicals that had been found in groundwater. A single carbon filter removed the contaminants, said state hydrogeologist Mark Wilkins, but the state added a second carbon filter for an added level of protection.

Most of the ground contamination from the DuPont plant that existed there has been addressed, but the site where the company made film and silicon is still contaminated with toxic chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The plan calls for removal of some soil and capping and fencing of areas where the chemicals still exist.

The state Division of Waste Management has been overseeing the remediation activities, which have included the demolition and removal of the former plant and the removal of X-ray film waste.

The plan, drafted by DuPont in May, was presented to the public and changes were made based on feedback. This plan is the final draft, and public comment is open until Dec. 5.

Efforts to clean up the site include:

  • Confirming the extent of the contamination
  • Long-term operation and maintenance of the caps and covers over contaminated areas
  • Installation of protective fencing or cover material to prevent exposure to hazardous materials present in the soil
  • Solidification of capping of wastes, excavation and reconfiguration of caps and side slopes in specific areas
  • Monitoring of groundwater to ensure there is no increase of concentration of contaminants in the groundwater
  • Development and implementation of long-term management plans to ensure park users are not exposed to hazardous materials
  • Enforcement of land disturbance restrictions to prevent exposure to materials that remain on the site.

Bud McCarty, an engineer with the state, said if no major changes to the plan were suggested by public comment, work should begin sometime early next year and be completed in two to three years.

The draft of the plan can be found at: https://goo.gl/xNxNg6

Comments should be addressed to:

Julie S. Woosley, Hazardous Waste Section Chief
NC Division of Waste Management
Hazardous Waste Section
1646 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1646

Or, comments may be e-mailed to Julie.Woosley@ncdenr.gov.

Comments must be received by Dec. 5.


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2 thoughts on “Few attend public hearing on DuPont Forest cleanup

  1. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    I used to work at the plant. Imagine being able to take a 2-3 minute walk during lunch to look at Triple Falls. An engineer friend who worked there died on the west fork of the Pigeon while kayaking. He paddled the Green Narrows. He was really good. Jim. Can’t remember his last name at the moment.

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