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EPA Reveals Massive Clean-Up Plan for 80-year old NC Orchard
(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2003)
In the fall of 2004, EPA will begin a $15.4 million clean-up effort targeted at the Barber Orchard neighborhood near Ashville, NC. This site was used as an orchard for more than 80 years and contains over 180 acres of arsenic-tainted soil and nine miles of broken pipes, which formerly carried pesticides throughout the fields, reports an article in the Ashville Citizen-Times. Part of this property now belongs to a Haywood County subdivision.

The residents had a chance to voice their opinions to the Agency at a town meeting in Waynesville. "We really don't know the exact order they're wanting to do things in," said David Sutton, who has lived in Barber Orchard for 13 years. The EPA has already spent $4 million as part of an emergency response to the area after tests showed arsenic, lead and pesticides had contaminated the soil and the water supply.

According to local historians, the orchard was used for more than 80 years and stretched over 400 acres at its peak operation. The 9 miles of underground pipes that delivered the toxic pesticides to the fields would often freeze, crack, and then leak during the warmer summer months. EPA and local residents believe that a majority of the pipes are still in the ground, continuing to pollute the soil and the water.

Five of the 55 wells in the subdivision tested positive for the pesticide lindane, a known carcinogen to mice. Local residents are concerned about future development and main water line expansion in the area.

For more information regarding the water quality in your area, go to EPA's ground water and drinking water website. Contact Beyond Pesticides for more information about pesticides in drinking water.