Neighbors, school district left in the dark after coal ash discovery

A delayed response? Hazardous coal ash that was found nearly two months ago is finally being explained to the superintendent of Iredell-Statesville schools. The area where the coal ash was found sits yards away from a local high school.

“This is some scary stuff. I need to know more about this,” said neighbor, Menard Minker.

Other neighbors also told FOX 46 Charlotte they were left in the dark after coal ash was discovered at a nearby construction site on September 6.

The area sits just blocks away from dozens of homes and yards away from Lake Norman High School.

“I didn’t know it was this close to us. I didn’t know about coal ash being dumped or spilled in our neighborhood,” said Minker.

But it was dumped in the area back in 2001 using a State Department of Environmental Quality permit. The land is now being primed for a set of new apartments.

A DEQ spokesperson says during a September 6 inspection they discovered coal ash had been exposed while crews were building an access road. The next day, DEQ officials say the contractor fixed the area to ensure the coal ash was sealed in place.

Now, over a month later, the Iredell-Statesville Schools superintendent says he just learned about the discovery. He says soil, air and radon testing was already scheduled to take place at all schools. Water will now be added to that testing list, starting with Lake Norman High School.

“Any precautions that we take to test and check to make sure things are within acceptable levels I am a fan of,” said parent, Don Peterman.

School leaders say they have been reassured that the coal ash did not make it onto the campus of Lake Norman High School. DEQ officials say the ground water and surrounding soil is safe.

FOX 46 Charlotte reached out to the DEQ about why no one was notified about the discovery, but we have not heard back.