Possible coal ash sighting sparks new concern among Mooresville neighbors

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — New pictures from a coal ash fill site in Mooresville is causing new concern among neighbors.

In the fall, Eyewitness News Anchor Kristin Leigh's investigation found old coal ash exposed at a construction site next to Lake Norman High School. Now, neighbor Cheryl Hoke sent new photos to Channel 9, worried coal ash is surfacing again.

"You can see the black in the grooves in the dirt," Hoke said. "I was driving and with the morning light, I noticed the black in the red soil. It stood out to me."

Last October, an investigation revealed 40,000 tons of coal ash had been buried in 2001 at a fill site on Doolie Road in Mooresville.

The State's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) told Channel 9 in October a combination of construction and rainy weather brought buried coal ash to the surface.

With construction of an apartment complex still ongoing in the area, Hoke said she is still concerned.

"Of course I'm worried about the air quality, the water quality," Hoke said.

Channel 9 sent the new photos to the DEQ, but they said they would not speculate whether the black substance is coal ash.

In an email, a spokesperson said, "The site and the questions around it are not new. DEQ has visited the site three times thsi year, and more than a half dozen inspections in the last three months of 2018."

Hoke said she believes the property owner and the government can do more to protect neighbors.

"It's right here where people are walking. It's scary," Hoke said. "There's nothing marked that says keep out, no trespassing. There's nothing that says 'This is a coal ash site.'"


The DEQ told Channel 9's Kristin Leigh they are working with property owners on a "geotechnical investigation" to determine the perimeters of the coal ash fill on the property.

Duke University is also studying concerns about coal ash and thyroid cancer.

There are an abnormally high number of thyroid cancer cases in two Iredell County zip codes including one where Lake Norman High School is located.

Right now, there is no known link between coal ash and thyroid cancer.

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