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Dumping on New Hill

Member Story

Dumping on New Hill

Picture of Rebekah Cowell

How an enormous wastewater treatment plant wound up near a small town's historic district.

Independent Weekly
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

For five years, the New Hill Community Association, a citizens group of black and white residents, have battled the partners and the plant. "Initially we requested the sewage plant not be placed in our community because we have had enough impacts," association members said at a 2008 community meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency. "When our plea was rejected, we then requested the partners move the sewage plant out of the center of our community, where it will impact our churches, cemeteries, playgrounds and, most of all, the people who live in close proximity to the site."

Throughout the U.S., including North Carolina, landfills, hazardous waste sites and other environmental threats or nuisances have historically been sited near low-income or minority communities. The treatment plant is another example of that practice, says the Rev. Robert Campbell, leader of the Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love Church of Chapel Hill and a member of the Coalition to End Environmental Racism. "In my opinion [this is] another underserved community of color [that] is the target of a larger municipality, that will make promises and not keep them."

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