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Officials: Illegal landfill found near well in Pamlico County

By Kianga Kelley
Published On: Apr 09 2013 10:36:27 PM CDT
ORIENTAL, PAMLICO -

An anonymous tip led to the discovery of illegal landfill in Pamlico County, officials said.

The landfill, located on Kershaw Rd. in Oriental, is less than 600 feet away from a well accessed by at least 8,000 people in the area, investigators said.

According to state law, a water source must be 1,000 feet away from any location which conflicts with the North Carolina hazardous waste management rules. Now, an investigation on the landfill is underway.

Dennis Harrington, the director of the Health Department in Pamlico County, said he was stunned by the discovery of the landfill.

“We couldn't really believe quite what we saw- it looked like a landfill. That’s a permit landfill, although none of us knew about it,” said Harrington. “We started finding construction waste, baby swimming pools, clothes that had obviously been dumped, just trash.”

The property is owned by Janice Willis. But according to officials, it's her son, Phillip Willis, who allegedly dumped waste at the site, through his company, Willis Trucking & Land Development, Inc. NewsChannel 12 tried to call the company, but the number was disconnected.

Harrington said between two to three acres of land are filled with piles of construction debris and garbage that reaches as high as 10 feet. 

“And then, the blooming thing was on fire on top of that. It had been burned not too long ago,” Harrington said.

Harrington said he is also concerned that septic tank waste may have been dumped at the site.

According to Harrington, records showed Willis had not checked in at the legal dumping site where he's registered.

Willis was given a notice of violation on Monday. He has been given an opportunity to clean up the mess, officials said. But if he doesn’t get the work done in a timely manner, he could face civil penalties.

The site is still under investigation by multiple state and county agencies, including North Carolina Air Quality Control and the North Carolina Division of Waste Management. The well near the landfill has been temporarily shut down, just to be on the safe side, officials said.