Posted: 3:35 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Officials find evidence of hazardous material at business

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Officials find trace contamination at business photo
Officials find trace contamination at business

By Jim Bradley

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Contamination on the site of a north Charlotte business may be costing adjacent property owners.

North Carolina's Department of Environmental and Natural Resources division say they've found evidence of hazardous materials in soil and groundwater samples along Cullman Avenue. They apparently came from a building owned by Detrex Corporation where businesses have recycled solvents for years.

Traces of hazardous chemicals were found after state crews drilled wells and took samples on the Detrex site and some nearby properties. But evidence that the contamination is affecting property values didn't surface until recently. The city of Charlotte is now negotiating with property owners to purchase easements behind their buildings on Cullman Avenue.

The city wants to use that slice of land when the Lynx light rail line is extended through North Charlotte. However, in documents sent to property owners, the city is in some cases asking for the land for free.

City engineers tell Channel 9 that the cost to clean up contamination that spread from the Detrex site to nearby parcels would be more than the property is worth.

"I think the contamination under the soil and the remediation cost have nothing to do with me," said Patrick Speckman, who owns a building next door to the Detrex site.

Speckman says he shouldn't be penalized because of contamination caused by another business. City leaders say they are still open to negotiating with Speckman but have to factor in potential cleanup costs.

State environmental officials say they're still trying to determine exactly how far any contamination has spread. Eyewitness News has not yet been able to reach Detrex for comment.

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