This is not New York. Aberdeen is not Love Canal. And Moore County Schools is not building “Love Canal Elementary” off N.C. 5.
Despicable forces of disinformation would have you believe otherwise. Their newfound interest in a long-standing matter of public record, media coverage and community dialogue for more than 30 years is as shallow as it is transparent.
These forces oppose Moore County Schools’ redistricting plan, and they will stop at nothing — lies, head fakes and innuendo masquerading as “concern” — to derail the process. Their latest attempt is to smear the entire community of Aberdeen — and as many town, county and school leaders they can taint with their brush of tarred “truths.” These folks, whom you can hear daily or see on social media, would have the gullible among us believe we are building a new elementary school in a dangerous field of pesticide contamination.
That simply is not true.
No Risk of Health
Here’s what is true. As reported on the front page of Sunday’s edition of The Pilot, Aberdeen has five sites that once were contaminated with pesticides and other chemicals. They were legal manufacturing and storage grounds from the 1920s until the early 1980s.
The current Aberdeen Elementary School on U.S. 1 has sat near two of the sites since its existence, and is downhill of them. Yet there have never been any environmental issues at the school.
The new Aberdeen school campus under construction is between two sites, half a mile south of “Fairway Six” on the former Pit Golf Course and four-fifths of a mile north of “McIver Dump” off Roseland Road — and above both sites. The school site itself is not on any watch list. Anyone who tells you the new school sits on a toxic waste site is lying.
Here’s what else is true, as reported Sunday — and for years: The sites have all been cleaned. Tons of soil — 127,000 tons, to be exact — were dug up, cleaned and returned. Groundwater monitoring wells were installed. Trees were planted in massive numbers to “take up” chemical elements in the groundwater. For the new site, groundwater would have to migrate uphill to get to the school.
The sites have been the subject of extensive monitoring and study over the past 25 years. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts exhaustive reviews every five years. The last review was completed in 2018. That report is easily available online for your own reading. We’ll summarize its findings: The sites are of no risk to health.
When Moore County Schools bought the new Aberdeen site in 2015, it hired a national environmental engineering firm to conduct its own exhaustive review. The company did it again in 2017. The reports — fully disclosed to the Board of Education, Board of Commissioners and the public — all say the same thing: “no evidence of recognized environmental conditions in connection with the property.”
We get that not everyone likes the redistricting proposals thus far. And we get that not everyone likes the current school board members and Superintendent Bob Grimesey. Again, honest differences are acceptable.
What’s not acceptable are dishonest, disingenuous and distorted attempts to scare people to your side. Such tactics are little more than the work of a cockroach, which skitters freely spreading germs until being cast in light, and then it dashes for the cover of darkness.
Half-truths, innuendo and conjecture have no place in serious matters. Those who spread and believe such are weak, narrow-minded and in serious need of a bolt of light shone upon them.
The new Aberdeen elementary school is a thing of beauty, even at 42 percent complete. It will be a source of pride, as will our three other new elementary schools. Again, progress and positivity win the day in Moore County.