New Hanover County Schools purchased about 60 acres of land for the new Castle Hayne Elementary and Holly Shelter Middle schools in Castle Hayne in 2008, after considering two other sites. The Holly Shelter Road site was the only tract in the northern part of the county that was both reasonably priced and big enough to hold two schools, school board chairman Ed Higgins said.
The two schools sit next to the former site of a stump rendering plant, Reasor Chemical Company, which was designated as a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002. Cleanup on the site included disposal of contaminated soil and surface water, and was completed in 2007. The only remaining actions recommended for the site by the EPA are annual monitoring and five-year reviews.
The Superfund site does not directly touch the schools’ property, but worried parents approached the New Hanover County school board in late 2009 about the possibility of contamination on school grounds because of a past explosion on the Reasor Chemical site, and because of a suspect T-shaped valve and drum piles found buried adjacent to school property in the Phase I Environmental Assessment Report by The Clark Group for New Hanover County Schools in 2005.
School staff plans to ask the school board to approve further testing of soil, air and water at the school sites at the board’s November meeting, according to district project manager Eddie Anderson.The district tested the site’s groundwater prior to site construction and determined not to use it for drinking or irrigation.
Date posted: October 26, 2009
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