[Durham INC] Reasons for concern re: dry cleaner site contamination? Possible exposure & property devaluation; Wed TPNA mtg re: BB&T site
lkdrey2 at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 5 14:59:48 EST 2010
There are a number of important reasons why you may want to be concerned
about the contamination any of the 13 sites that are highly contaminated by
dry cleaning chemicals in Durham. PERC is a chemical that was, and still
is, used by most dry cleaners. One such contaminated site is located in
Trinity Park at the corner of Watts St. and Club Blvd. That site is referred
to as the ³BB&T site. Since people living, working and attending places of
worship in Trinity Park are connected to city water, the main concern at
this site is vapor intrusion contaminated indoor air in people¹s houses
are a result of the perc plume in groundwater. Another issue from
groundwater contamination is if one has, or would like to have, a vegetable
Devaluation of properties is a huge issue, for both properties directly
impacted and those that are not. Contamination could reduce your property
values. If your home is found to be contaminated you are required to
disclose that your property is contaminated with perc to potential house
buyers. I believe you must reveal contamination even after the state
concludes its remediation of your property.
Properties found not to be contaminated will bear the stigma of being
situated near the contamination. Such properties will remain at risk because
of the dense soil in the area and the difficulty involved with mitigating
the plume, which will continue to slowly spread even when the source (at the
BB&T site) is excavated. Lastly, there is no compensation for adjacent
property owners whose property has been contaminated nor is there any
medical monitoring program for those whose health may have been impacted
because of exposure to perc.
The highly contaminated sites by dry cleaners are extremely important to
Durham for health reasons. There is strong evidence that perchloroethylene
is a carcinogen. Perc causes cancer, and has been associated with causing
liver and kidney damage, neurological damage, and birth defects, among other
The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR,)
does not yet know how far the plume has reached from the BB&T site --- has
not delineated the full extent of the contamination. NCDENR has not begun to
determine how far the contamination reaches in most of the other sites in
NCDENR is in the process of designing a plan to take remedial action that
they believe will deal the problem on the BB&T site and the adjacent
properties that have been affected by PCE contamination. The state has
decided to tear down the former dry cleaning facility --- the old BB&T
building in Trinity Park.
It is my understanding that there will be a community meeting the middle of
January. At this meeting will be discussion of the demolition of the BB&T
building with NCDENR. I hope that interested Durham residents and workers
from the area will be informed of NCDENR¹s intentions, as the demolition of
the building could impact the larger community. In addition, I would like
there to be ample time for people¹s questions and concerns to be addressed
by the staff. I will let you know when and where the meeting will take
The Trinity Park Neighborhood Association (TPNA) Board of Directors meeting
has an agenda item about the contamination by dry cleaning chemicals at the
BB&T site at its next meeting this Wednesday, January 6th, in the library of
the Watts Street Montessori School at 700 Watts St at 7:30 pm. (The library
entrance is on the left hand side of the school and is entered by using a
ramp.) The meeting on the 6th is a TPNA Board of Directors meeting. The TPNA
Board meetings are open to the entire neighborhood.
The meeting already has a long agenda so there is a limited amount of time
for an update about the ³BB&T site² being contaminated. At Wednesday¹s
meeting I and my consultants* will make a brief presentation. There will be
a short amount of time to answer your questions and address your concerns.
TPNA will have a PERC committee meeting within the next 2 weeks. If you are
interested in joining the committee and/or getting more details about the
contamination and its ramifications please let me know. The PERC Committee
is looking for concerned citizens, activists and people with technical
I apologize that I did not get the word to you earlier. Please come to the
meeting on Wednesday to learn more about the BB&T site.
* What are the backgrounds and involvement of the people I am collaborating
with? Sue Dayton, of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL, a
regional, community-based, non-profit environmental group,) is taking an
active role in the BB&T site. Sue came to the InterNeighborhood Council to
discuss the 13 contaminated dry cleaning sites throughout Durham County.
BREDL has launched a state-wide campaign to involve communities in the safe
cleanup of dry cleaning sites. For information about dry cleaning solvents
see http://www.bredl.org/drycleaningsolvents.htm BREDL¹s web address is
Rusty Norris, PE, PLS, RSM (ELM Site Solutions, Inc.,) an environmental
consultant, is evaluating information obtained by the state, conducting
data analysis and providing recommendations to assist me with decisions I
will be required to make.
NCDENR and their consultants made a presentation to Trinity Park
Neighborhood Association about the BB&T site.
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