The Moore County Board of Education heard the results of the Phase 2 environmental assessment of the new Aberdeen Elementary School property Monday.
The site, located off Hwy 5, is adjacent to two sites that were subject to an extensive EPA cleanup and is still under observation with reports issued every five years. The school site was not the location of any of the contaminated areas in Aberdeen.
The new Aberdeen Elementary School being built off of Hwy 5 ~ Sandhills Sentinel.
At the time of purchase, Moore County Schools retained Building and Earth to conduct a Phase 1 assessment of the site. That report and an addendum issued in 2017, after additional concerns were raised, found that there were no recognized environmental conditions.
However, as there were additional public concerns expressed concerning the safety of the site, Moore County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Grimesey authorized a Phase 2 study in July.
This study included the drilling of three wells to check for groundwater contamination and installing eight monitoring sites at selected areas of potentially highest risk of exposure.
In a presentation to the board by Richard D. Brown of Building and Earth, Brown said the study did report trace elements of several metals, including the presence of DDD which is pesticide no longer used in the United States. However, all the elements were present in amounts well below the North Carolina cleanup standards.
School Board Members Libby Carter (L), Helena Wallin-Miller and Dr. Bob Grimesey ~ Sandhills Sentinel.
Results showed some contamination of groundwater on the site, but the depth of the groundwater (from 16 to 46 feet) made the chance of students or staff coming in contact with the water extremely remote. The study did recommend not using groundwater for drinking or irrigation purposes.
The report concluded that:
~ There was no evidence of pesticides, Carbaryl, or SVOCs in the soil samples; and
~The concentrations of metals in the soil samples were below the North Carolina cleanup standards for soil for residential property, as well as EPA regional screening levels; and
~The concentrations of metals were consistent with median and range of soil concentrations from the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources Inactive Hazardous Sites Branch Soil Remediation Goals (SRG); and
~The concentrations of volatile organic compounds in B-03, B05, B-06, B-07, and B-08 were below the North Carolina cleanup standards for soil for residential property, as well as EPA regional screening levels; and
~The concentrations of 4,4-DDD in TMW-02 and TMW-03 were below the North Carolina groundwater quality standards as well as EPA maximum contaminant level; and
~Groundwater encountered was more than 16 feet bgs in TMW-02 and more than 45 feet bgs in TMW-03 and the risk of ingestion is extremely low; and
~It is our opinion that the results do not pose significant environmental risks.
Responding to a question from Board Chairman Helena Wallin-Miller, Moore County Schools Executive Officer for Operations John Birath confirmed that the school will be using water from the Town of Aberdeen, and there are no plans to use groundwater for irrigation.
When Grimesy was asked if he had access to the Phase 2 study before purchasing the property, would that have changed his recommendation, Grimesey responded: “absolutely not.”
In a prepared statement, board member Ed Dennison stated, “We have done our due diligence regarding the environmental conditions for the new Aberdeen Elementary School property. If the public has any future questions regarding the property, I invite them to at least read the first 17 pages of the Phase 2 report. Safety and security are my number one concern for my 12,700 students, and I am confident those attending the new Aberdeen Elementary School will be safe and secure.”
The property was purchased for $189,000 in 2015, and the school is scheduled to open in 2020.
You can read the full report by clicking here.
Feature photo: Richard D. Brown of Building and Earth reading the Phase 2 results to the school board ~Sandhills Sentinel.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Local News/Government Reporter Chris Prentice.
Contact him at [email protected] or (910) 639-9303.