In the shadow of Alcoa, West Badin residents want you to visit their town to see the environmental threats they live with every day
The hulking metal shell of the former Alcoa plant in Badin, in Stanly County, is roughly a half-mile long and severs the west side — which is historically and predominantly Black — from the rest of town. Beneath the 700,000-square-foot building pollution from the smelting operations is curdling. For much of Alcoa’s tenure, there were no regulations governing hazardous waste, so the company strew hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic debris wherever it was convenient, some of it in an old unlined dump that is sitting on the edge, and in some cases under, the West Badin community.
For decades, the Concerned Citizens of West Badin and environmental advocates have petitioned the state and Alcoa for a full cleanup of the toxic waste. That would require a major excavation and money — money the billion-dollar company does not want to spend. While there have been piecemeal approaches to the cleanup, none has addressed the contaminant source — buried pot liners that held cyanide, mercury, lead and arsenic — that are leaching into the groundwater, Little Mountain Creek and Badin Lake, a drinking water supply and popular boating, swimming and fishing area.
Now, on Sept. 30, the Concerned Citizens of West Badin and NC Environmental Justice Network are sponsoring a free tour of the area and a rally in support of the residents of the predominantly Black community.
A free bus will leave the Bell Tower at UNC-Chapel Hill at 10 a.m. The program begins with lunch at the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 500 Sherman St., in Badin at noon, followed by the bus tour at 12:45 p.m. The rally is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Registration is free and available here.
Read NC Newsline’s previous coverage of Alcoa:
- A history of the company and its affect on the community
- A proposed Special Order by Consent between state regulators and the company that fell through
- And the cyanide issues in Badin Lake and other runoff problems.