Arsenic, other substances in soil at former refuse site
By David Leone
ROLESVILLE — North Carolina is proposing a remedial action plan for the former Rolesville Dump, located on two-thirds of an acre of undeveloped, wooded land beginning 30 feet north of the end of Long Melford Drive.
It is classified as a Superfund site, the reference given to areas needing cleanup of toxic contamination.
The pre-1983 landfill has an excess of contaminants, according to the action plan drafted by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Waste Management.
A series of routine soil samples were taken at depths of 6 and 18 inches below the soil surface in March and August of last year revealing arsenic, iron, thallium and lindane that were found in concentrations greater than recommended for the public’s general health.
Arsenic was found in 15 locations at the dump, ranging from 0.75 parts per million (ppm) over the limit, to 4.5 ppm. The recommended maximum is 0.68 ppm.
Iron was found in two locations in concentrations of 22,000 ppm and 29,000 ppm. The recommended maximum is 11,000 ppm.
Thallium’s recommended limit is 0.156. It was found in all 19 samples, ranging from 0.19 ppm to 5.69 ppm. And the maximum for lindane, 0.57 ppm, was found exceeded in one sample, at 210 ppm.
Arsenic is typically found in car batteries, ammunition and semiconductor parts. It was used as a wood preservative and in pesticides, among other uses. It’s poisonous to humans and can contaminate groundwater.
Thallium is highly toxic to people. It was historically used in rat poisons and insecticides, as well as certain electronics and other manufacturing uses. Lindane was used as a crop pesticide, and in seed, soil and other agricultural treatments, a pharmaceutical shampoo or lotion to treat lice and scabies, among other uses. It is moderately toxic and no longer allowed for agricultural use in the U.S.
The dump is bordered by two neighborhoods — the Villages of Rolesville and Cedar Lakes, as well as by Harris Creek, which is located 200 feet east of the disposal area. Most of the waste is comprised of residential garbage — including glass, scrap metal and cans.
The action plan also recommends removal of approximately 165 cubic yards of waste products and 960 cubic yards of residual soil located between the waste and the bedrock below. Contractors will also install temporary erosion and sedimentation measures. A temporary gravel drive will connect from Long Melford Drive and dust control measures will be implemented during excavation.
The project is expected to last for 13 days, weather depending.
The plan promises normal working hours, with any mess deposited onto town streets cleaned up — shoveled or swept up, not hosed down — at the end of every day. The property is mostly wooded with underbrush; mature trees will be removed, but stumps left in places to prevent disturbing the soil. No trees or brush will be burned onsite.
Afterward, the land will be graded, using waste boundary dirt to even out the slope, and then seeded with a mixture of grasses and plants. The contractor will be required to maintain the site for the year after the work is performed, specifically to deal with silt runoff or other erosion.
No permits are required for the remedy, but contractors will have to sign in and document their work daily, and wear protective clothing to prevent contact exposure with toxins.
The total cost of cleanup is estimated at $145,400, including a 10-percent contingency. Bids have not yet been solicited for the project.
Public comment on the remedial action draft plan will be taken through Feb. 3.
Comments and questions should be directed to Engineer Matthew Aufman at the N.C. Division of Waste Management, Superfund Section, 1646 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1646, or by calling 919-707-8340.
The remediation plan can be viewed at the division, 217 West Jones St., Raleigh, by appointment only by calling Scott Ross at 919-707-8272. A copy is also available to be viewed at the Wake Forest Community Library, 400 East Holding Ave.