Residents near Falls Lake concerned with dumping happening

Local News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – People who live near Falls Lake are concerned after they say they have seen dumping happening near their homes for years.

The Division of Water Resources for the North Carolina Environmental Quality issued notices of violation for sediment in the streambeds on the properties where the dumping occurred.

Ruth McDaniel is a soil scientist and farmer who lives on Benny Ross Road in Durham County. She said she has seen piles of dirt dumped most recently on Southview Road.

“There’s plastic in here and there’s a lot of bits of metal and some rebar,” McDaniel said.

CBS 17 obtained a copy of a notice of violation the owner of the Southview Road property received from Division of Water Resources for the North Carolina Environmental Quality.

The notice of violation said sediment was found in the streambed on the property.

“We are less than a mile from Falls Lake,” McDaniel said. “So that means any of that material could’ve very easily attached to those little bits of soil and it could have hit a highway and gone right into that stream and gotten into the lake.”

Another property on Benny Ross Road was cited for sedimentation and erosion after dumping occurred, according to documents obtained from North Carolina Environmental Quality.

Durham County has also cited this property owner notices of violation. He currently owes the county $94,000 in fines.

Durham County officials told CBS 17 this owner was allowed to obtain a permit to do the dumping.

Officials said the current ordinance in Durham County does not require property owners to disclose the source of the dirt dumped on properties or how much is allowed to be dumped. Officials also said this contributed to the extent of sedimentation and erosion violations that existed on Benny Ross Road.

County officials said they are going to look at revising their ordinance.

However, McDaniel said she just hopes it is not too late.

“As a citizen who has observed this going on, it’s very upsetting to me,” McDaniel said. “It concerns me because, if we get contamination in Falls Lake, we don’t have a really great way of fixing that.”

The attorney for the owner of the property on Benny Ross Road said he is hoping to settle the fines he owes the county.

CBS 17 did not hear back from the owner of the property on Southview Road.

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