Environmental Justice Summary Group 4

by adigiaco on December 12, 2014 - 12:14pm

For our group, we decided on the Warren County case. What happened was a man and his two sons illegally dumped 31,000 gallons of contaminated soil along 240 miles of roadsides in 14 North Carolina counties. Because of this, the state of North Carolina had to find a place to dump all the contaminated soil, therefore building a landfill in Warren County, North Carolina near people’s houses. The people protested because of all the health problems the contaminated soil can cause. Our group believes that they dumped the soil in Warren County because of the 60% of the people that lived there were colored and it is one of the lowest income areas.

Even though the state of North Carolina knew that the contaminated soil was not suitable for a landfill because it could not be compressed and has a high chemical extraction rate, they built it anyway because it was a cheap option. When they went to clean it up, they found out that the contaminated soil had gotten into the water pipe, which was causing many health effects of the people of Warren County. The people of Warren County protested, and in 1993, the state of North Carolina ended up replacing the water pipe with a new one. It was a total of $18 million to clean up the contaminated soil and the water pipe, which by far exceeds the relocation of PCB.

There are many alternatives to a landfill. One thing the state of North Carolina could have done was compost all the stuff they could have and tried to recycle the rest of the stuff that could not be composted. They could have also tried to reuse some of the stuff that could not be recycled or composted.

The cheapest option for environmental and health safety are not always the best way to go because in the long run you spend more amounts of time cleaning it up and on resources and you are also affecting the health of humans in a certain area. This case could have been controlled better and if the state of North Carolina though of the people in that area, they would have put the contaminated soil in a safer area. 


I completely agree that just because something may be "cheaper" initially, it has far more environmental costs and in the end is more expensive and harmful.

A good attempt to think of alternative ways of dealing with the waste. Your point about cost is totally valid and one that many organisations (and governments) forget. So many organisations think in the short term, we need more people to take a longer perspective. Well done.

About the author

My name is Alyssa DiGiacomo. I am from a small town called Horseheads, NY which is in Upstate NY between Elmira,NY and Corning, NY. I live off campus and i get to school by driving.