Mountain Xpress / Max Hunt
Hazardous waste sites are not exactly an endangered species: In Buncombe County alone, there are about 30 of them, relics of former manufacturing operations or other businesses that left behind toxic residues. Some of those companies were established before the 1970s, when pioneering environmental laws began regulating industrial pollution. Others simply ignored the laws governing disposal of dangerous chemicals. Either way, these contaminants are hard to get rid of, and expensive cleanup efforts can drag on for decades with no sure resolution.
The Chemtronics site in Swannanoa, for example, has been on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List since 1982, yet there’s still no end in sight to the cleanup (see “Chemtronics: From Chemical Weapons to Conservation Easement,” March 24, 2016, Xpress).
Meanwhile, over at the CTS site on Mills Gap Road in South Asheville, concerns about the pace and effectiveness of cleanup efforts have mobilized community activists (see “Toxic Legacy: CTS Site Breeds Heartache for Residents,” June 1, 2016, Xpress).
But a group of innovative strategies collectively known as “in situ remediation” could dramatically improve the prospects for restoring these and other high-profile Superfund sites more quickly and at lower cost.
Instead of trying to mechanically remove contaminants from a property, in situ remediation harnesses the ability of certain chemicals or bacteria to tackle them where they are and turn them into harmless substances. Later this year, environmental contractors will implement such strategies at both those sites, under the auspices of EPA Region 4 officials. And meanwhile, another local project that’s already underway — RiverLink’s phytoremediation effort at the former Edaco junkyard on Amboy Road — gives some hints of these approaches’ potential to reclaim festering hazardous waste sites.
Scientific Name: Alternanthera philoxeroides A native of South America, alligatorweed was inadvertently introduced to Southeastern U.S. in the late 1800s. Its white flowers are clover-like and bloom a summer. Most commonly found floating in mats along the water’s edge, alligatorweed also grows immersed and even terrestrially. Its opposing leaves are lance shaped, 1-2 inches long, […]
Do you know where the water that flows into a storm drain goes? This water does not go to a treatment plant but flows directly into our streams, lakes, and rivers. Many people poor oil, paint, yard waste, and other pollutants into the storm drain because they think the water will be treated before […]
RiverLink and MountainTrue have developed informational kiosks for each river access point along the French Broad River Paddle Trail with a grant from the North Carolina Recreational Trails Program. Each kiosk focuses on historical and natural features of the river, as well as paddle trail information including maps and boater resources. These kiosks aid users and […]