EPA finds toxic chemicals on site of old Yadkinville plant

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YADKINVILLE, N.C. -- The Environmental Protection Agency will meet with some neighbors in Yadkinville next week after toxic chemicals were discovered on the site of the old Holcomb Creosote plant.

The plant off Highway 601 started preserving wood with creosote in the 1950s. It shut down in 2009.

EPA workers have been at the site for the last few months. EPA officials said they have already removed four pounds of mercury and 1,600 tons of contaminated soil, and there is more work still to do.

"Almost 60 years, it hadn't caused any problems. Nobody's got sick, hadn't killed any fish. It's something hanging over us stockholders," said Glyn Holcomb, 85, one of four family owners of the business.

"They stayed there so long clearing everything off and testing we knew it must be worse than what we thought, but we weren't really concerned, ever," said Janie Helton with Grace Bible Church, which is next door to the plant.

The EPA has found some high levels of metals and traces of creosote in nearby ponds, but they said they haven't heard anyone getting sick from them.

Helton said the EPA has tested the church's water, but they are in the clear so far.

"It's never been a problem for us. There's never been any terrible odor associated with it," Helton said.

The meeting takes place Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Yadkinville Volunteer Fire Department.

The plant could be placed on the EPA's national priorities list in the next few months. Being placed on the list would allow the site to be cleaned up faster.

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