ALCOA Capping PCBs Sediments

Aluminum maker ALCOA is continuing work to cap sediments in Badin Lake, resulting in the lowest lake levels there in quite some time. The lake has been as much as 16 feet below normal level as crews work to place layers of sand and rock over lakebed  soil previously contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

As we first reported in August, two specific sites on the lake comprising about four acres were identified as areas of special concern due to the discharge of PCBs, once commonly found in industrial oils, pesticides and other products. PCBs were outlawed in the 1970s due to concerns about their toxicity and after their classification as a persistent organic pollutant.

In many instances, polluted lake beds have been dredged to remove contaminated soil, but Cathy Akroyd with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said the capping method is “better than dredging”.

ALCOA advises caution on the lake during the capping, saying that the work areas are not currently safe for recreational watercraft, and that the Badin Cove area should be especially avoided. The capping project is being done as the result of an agreement between ALCOA and the State. Copies of the administrative agreement and other documents related to ALCOA’s Yadkin River operations can be found online at http://www.ncdenr.org and at the public libraries in Troy and Albemarle.

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