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Reality Check: Old Hendersonville dump could be under homes

The city of Hendersonville recently learned some homes in the area of Martin Circle may be on top of an old city dump. Apartments on Lincoln Circle could also be affected. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

The city of Hendersonville recently learned some homes in the area of Martin Circle may be on top of an old city dump. Apartments on Lincoln Circle could also be affected.

The city plans to hold a public meeting 6:30-8 Tuesday night at the Operations Center to explain what it knows.

One thing no one know is just how deep the problem is.

"Me and my sisters would come down, we would watch as they brought all those trucks and cars and I don't know all they brought. It looked like refrigerators and everything else they dumped down here," Minnie Porter recalled . "It was a widespread thing."

The city closed the dump in the early 1970's for a development project. State reports explain officials don't know exactly where things were dumped. The only information there is has been passed down verbally.

"There were never any records. The old timers could tell you where they thought it was, but there was never a map," Hendersonville City Manager John Connet said.

Figuring out what was under the ground goes back a decade. A 2007 report confirmed the land contained a former city dump. In 2014, construction workers found 55-gallon steel drums and car parts during sewer installation.

"We knew it was in a general area and actually thought we knew where it was, but, until we started doing this research, we had no idea the extent," Connet said.

A 2014 map shows where officials thought the dump was. An updated map shows that area has expanded. A 2014 study found ground water had contaminants exceeding state drinking water standards, however, everybody in the area is on city water.

"At no time have we felt like it was a true public health or safety risk," Connet said.

In February, consultants reported they needed more information to determine the boundaries of the dump. Connet said, within the last 90 days they started to believe the dump could extend to private property. Engineers have been drilling and taking soil samples from people's yards. Connet expects the results back soon. Porter's yard was among those tested.

"If there's anything hazardous under the ground, I would like to know it," she said.

Connet said he's trying to be as proactive as possible. A state document reports people began using the site as a dump in the 1950's. Because the dump was used before regulations went into place, the state will pay for most of the remediation costs.


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