Lingering Legacy

The circumstances at Bingham Park that we wrote about two weeks ago in YES! Weekly highlight the importance of environmental protection, even in the face of receding oversight from state agencies.

Bingham Park is located next to Maplewood Cemetery, just west of English Street in East Greensboro. It was once the site of a city incinerator, which burned household waste and other debris leaving molten rock, ash, and a mixture of contamination in the soil. It ceased operation in the late 1950s.

A school was built on adjacent property in 1960, and Bingham Park was established in 1972 on the site where tons of ash from the incinerator found its final resting spot. We wonder if anyone thought about pollution back in those days?

City and state officials have conducted environmental testing in the last several years at the site, which Greensboro parks and recreation staff want to refurbish with modern amenities to enhance the neighborhood.

But state regulators have made them wait, as soil sampling continues to turn up lead and other contaminants in excess of safety standards. Contractors are currently trying to assess the boundary of the pollution, and have expanded their search on property owned by Guilford County Schools.

The circumstances highlight the interconnectedness of our environmental resources. An unnamed creek flows south of the site and it just so happens that the ash heap is sloped toward the creek. Untold amounts of contamination have run off from the ash dump over the decades, into the creek, which eventually feeds into the Haw River and on to Jordan Lake.

This one circumstance alone should be the death knell of any move in Raleigh to eliminate the mandated 50-foot stream buffer for new construction projects in our state. Sadly, given the current free-market climate in Raleigh, the evidence will likely be ignored. !

YES! WEEKLY chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration .