Citizens voice concerns over air quality in Winston-Salem neighborhood

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Dozens of Winston-Salem residents who live near Hanes and Lowrance Middle Schools voiced their concerns about air quality at a meeting with city officials Thursday.

Last year, it was reported that the schools sat on top of contaminated groundwater caused by toxic waste.

The waste comes from a chemical dump across the street owned by Kaba Ilco, a locking products manufacturer.

About 50 people packed into a small room at Hanes Hosiery Community Center for the meeting.

Residents were mostly concerned with the chance of toxic vapors filling the air in their homes and neighborhood.

City officials updated residents on the results of recent air samplings taken from 36 homes in the affected area.

Out of the 36 homes, three exceeded state screening levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) which are both cancer-causing chemicals, according to city officials.

Some residents said more homes should have been tested.

"How do you only have 36 houses tested and you only found three when there are so many more houses that still need to be tested," asked one resident.

"We are trying to obtain answers for the citizens because that's who we're concerned about," said Storm Water and Erosion Control Director Keith Huff.

Huff says the city plans on taking more air samples from homes near the schools.

No date has been set on when the next round of sampling will begin or how homes will be sampled.