Pictured above: Iredell-Statesville Schools Superintendent Brady Johnson – WSIC File Photo
Last night, school and town officials became aware of a coal ash structural fill that is located near Lake Norman High School. The structural fill was constructed under state Department of Environmental Quality permits in 2001.
According to a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) spokesperson, during a Sept. 6 inspection of the site, DEQ officials discovered that soil covering a portion of the coal ash material had been disturbed during construction of a temporary access road. The site’s construction superintendent was directed by inspectors to restore and stabilize the soil covering to ensure that the coal ash material is safely sealed in place. DEQ verified that the required actions were completed the following day. DEQ has since conducted multiple site visits to monitor site conditions. The school district has been assured that no one has been directly exposed to coal ash, and there is no evidence that the material migrated off the property.
Superintendent Brady Johnson stated that, “We consider the safety and well-being of students our #1 priority. We always chose to ere on the side of caution in addressing serious issues such as this. In fact, prior to this information about coal ash being shared with us, we had already contracted with an outside agency to conduct soil, air and radon testing at ALL of our school sites. While most of our schools use a municipal water system, as an extra precaution, we are having water samples taken and analyzed as well. The testing of all 36 campuses will begin immediately. The first campus to be tested will be Lake Norman High School.”
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality plans to continue monitoring the site and take appropriate actions to ensure that coal ash from the structural fill does not pose a risk to public health or the environment.
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