State Dispels Claim of Carthage Sewage Leak
Twice in the past few days, teams from the state made useless trips to Carthage to check what turned out to be baseless charges.
The first team was responding to accusations that the planned site for a new county detention center intruded on wetlands, that the land had artesian wells and that a sewer line on it was leaking waste.
A careful and thorough exploration of that plot of land – which lies between Dowd and McNeil Streets behind the present jail – turned up none of the problems jail opponent and town resident Bert Patrick reported to the Fayetteville office of the agency.
A second claim, that Carthage was discharging raw sewage from its two sewer lagoons, also turned out to be false, according to Belinda Hinson, a surface water protection supervisor with the N.C. Division of Water Quality of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“We didn’t see anything that raised any red flags,” Hinson said Monday, after the second inspection trip last Friday.
She would no longer identify Patrick as the resident who had filed the complaint, saying that the individual had gone over her head to Matt Matthews, the surface water section head in Raleigh, objecting to making the name available to the public.
“We do keep names off the record on request,” said Hinson, who added that no such request was made at the time of the original complaint. She had told Rocky Davis, the town’s public works director, who had made the initial complaint at the time.
“Rocky said it was Bert Patrick,” said Town Manager Carol Sparks, still upset by the false allegations against the town and its workers. “She told him that’s who said we were putting raw sewage in the creek.”
Years ago, Carthage did have a permit for discharge, but that outfall area was inspected by the DENR crew and found completely dry, with no sign anything had been through it in a very long time.
Carthage sewage, after settlement in the two lagoons, is treated by the county facility in Addor. Nothing is discharged into Killetts Creek or any other creek, Sparks said.
“They used to discharge, 20 years ago,” said DENR’s Hughie White, who had returned to Carthage with the team last Friday. “We didn’t see anything. It was dry – I mean, it was dry. What else can you say?”
Rumors about sewage leaks and artesian flow have been checked and rechecked during the process of making sure the future detention center on the Grimm property meets all state and federal regulations, according to Davis.
“We don’t suspect anything illegal happened from what we had seen,” White said. “We had a complaint, several other accusations and concerns with the sewer line. We didn’t’ see anything.”
Patrick, reached at her home before leaving on a family trip, said through a family member that she did not care to make any comment at this time. Patrick unsuccessfully ran for mayor last year. Her main issue was opposing the county’s plans to build a larger jail.
In the past, she has been very active in the life of the town, particularly through her work with the Historical Committee and the Carthage Historical Museum — helping to keep it open for visitors, working to acquire and display exhibits, and spending long hours there as a volunteer.
The town commissioners voted earlier this month to remove Patrick from that town committee, responding to a report of her accusations from Davis. That followed the first DENR team’s visit to Carthage. The second inspection came later, on Friday of the week following the board’s action at its Monday meeting.
Contact John Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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