Owner forced to sell shop threatened by massive sinkhole in Mooresville

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Town leaders are addressing a massive sinkhole that formed over a coal ash fill in Mooresville.

The sinkhole is located at 190 West Plaza Drive, and a tire shop on that lot is on the verge of being swallowed by it. The hole has been around for nearly four years and it just keeps getting larger.

It’s been the talk of the town for years. It got so bad that the business on the property, a shop called Tire Masters, had to shut down after 28 years in business.

The Town of Mooresville said the hole was formed when a pipe was improperly installed decades ago, causing it to burst in 2020. Making matters worse, the hole is on a coal ash structural fill, and that coal ash is now seeping into the water stream, creating environmental concerns.

Coal ash is the residue left behind after coal is burnt. Experts have linked it to cancer.

In the 1980s, energy companies started giving coal ash away to essentially be used as dirt. There is more of it in Iredell County than any other area in the state.

The town is now buying the Mooresville property so state and federal money can fill the pipe and fix the hole. Town leaders are also creating a plan to clean up the toxic coal ash.

Mooresville Mayor Chris Carney said Thursday third-party water testing is underway.

“I don’t fault anybody who is concerned, I understand why those questions are out there,” he said.

But Carney said the drinking water is safe and Duke Energy will clean the stream since it has coal ash in it.

“We feel like we are at a place now where we can actually come forward with a plan,” he said.

He said when the new board was seated, commissioners encouraged staff to see if there was anything that could be done about the sinkhole. He said buying the property so the town can use grant funds is the right thing to do.

Carney also said it is important to note the former property owner, Chris Medford, did absolutely nothing wrong. Medford told Channel 9′s Joe Bruno it was emotional for him to finally have all of this behind him.

“Twenty-eight years, you’ve met a lot of people and you’ve become friends with a lot of people. And it is hard,” he said.

Work on the hole is expected to start in the summer. It will take about three months to fill and fix.

The findings from the independent water testing should be released in the coming weeks.

(WATCH BELOW: Heavy rain causes sinkhole, partial closure of US 221 in Linville)

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