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State Regulators Tell Winston Weaver to Assess Contamination at Second Site, Half a Mile From Scorched Production Facility

Source: Winston-Salem Journal

After a fire broke out at Winston Weaver Co.’s primary production facility, state regulators are raising questions about a second site just half a mile away on Brownsboro Road.

The site in question is a storage facility where the company would store raw materials for their fertilizer, in an open-air structure exposed to the elements. State regulators want to know if this location also has “hot spots” of accumulated arsenic and other contaminants in the groundwater, conditions believed to have caused the fire that destroyed the production facility on North Cherry Street.

Six-hundred tons of ammonium nitrate were estimated to have been present at the site at the time of the blaze. Winston Weaver was cited by the NC Department of Labor for improperly storing the highly explosive compound. 

In February, city officials and a reporter from the Winston-Salem Journal witnessed “fertilizer-laden” runoff from the property on Brownsboro Road. The Winston-Salem Journal wrote, “The milky stream flowed into the street in front of the property and down a storm drain feeding into Monarcas Creek, which was the subject of a water advisory due to contamination that the city traced to the storage facility.”

The NC Department of Water Quality has sent a letter to Winston Weaver President Mike Spence giving the company 120 days to complete an environmental assessment of the site and ordering them to determine the “vertical and horizontal extent of the contamination from the release.”

Geoff Gisler, Program Director at the Southern Environmental Law Center, applauded state regulators for their swift action and shared support for the state using the “full authority” to assess potential contamination and require the company to clean up the site. 

Gisler said, “The history of this site shows that it has been and will continue to be a source of pollution until the site is fully investigated and controls are put in place.”

Read more from the Winston-Salem Journal


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