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March 21, 2010
DTH Editorial Board

Correction ( March 22 11:41 p.m.): Due to an editing error in this editorial, the editorial board incorrectly states that more than a quarter of the wells were malfunctioning. A quarter of the septic tanks were malfunctioning. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

Efforts to provide the Rogers Road community with clean water need to be redoubled by Orange County and the town of Chapel Hill.

A recent report released by the Orange County Health Department revealed that nine of 11 wells in the Rogers Road neighborhood are contaminated and do not meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Three wells that were tested contained fecal or total coliform in the water. This bacteria could cause health problems such as stomach cramps and vomiting. (read more here)

by Beth Velliquette, Chapel Hill Herald Sun

Water tests of 11 wells in the Rogers Road area showed that only two of them supplied water within the EPA recommended limits.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to discuss the results of those tests tonight at its meeting at the Southern Human Services Center on Homestead Road. The testing of the water and the septic systems was done to provide information to the state in an application for a Community Development Block Grant.

Neloa Jones, co-chair of the Rogers-Eubanks Coalition, a group that is attempting to restore environmental justice to the area because of the nearby landfill, said the results of the tests show there are water and septic system failures, although the results do not attempt to show whether the water problems are linked to the landfill.

(Read the whole story here)

Taylor Hartley, Daily Tar Heel Staff Writer

A county survey of well and septic systems in a historically black, low-income neighborhood near the county landfill revealed contaminated wells that could threaten residents’ health.

Orange County commissioners were presented with the report, which assessed 11 wells and 45 septic tanks in the Rogers Road neighborhood, part of which is not connected to public water lines.

Of the septic tanks, two were in need of maintenance, 10 were non-compliant with septic tank standards and 12 were identified as “malfunctioning.” Five were called “end-of-life” failures.

Rev. Robert Campbell, an advocate for the community, thanked the Orange County health department for its work. “If we continue collaborating and forming a partnership, we can resolve this issue,” Campbell said.

(read the whole story here)

Evan Rose, Daily Tar Heel Sr. Writer

More than two years and $490,000 later, no one is quite sure how Orange County should take out the trash.

Local governments are currently trying to sort out the ramifications of the county’s latest decision: come 2012, when the local landfill reaches capacity, county trash will be trucked directly to a transfer station in Durham.

Members of the county Board of Commissioners say the December decision, which brought an end to a contentious search process, is a temporary fix. (read the whole story here)

February 28, 2010
William Wilmer,
Daily Tar Heel Staff Writer

One of the most vocal supporters of the historically black and low-income neighborhood that hosts the county’s landfill was honored Sunday for his activism.

Rev. Robert Campbell was honored with the Pauli Murray Award for Human Relations in a ceremony hosted by the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

Joe Nanney, chairman of the commission, said he expects Campbell to continue to fight for his community.

“He gives a voice to people who otherwise don’t have one,” he said.

(read the story here)