01/03/06 — Questions about health will continue

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Questions about health will continue

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 3, 2006 1:49 PM

CALYPSO -- Residents living within two miles of a proposed landfill in northern Duplin County are being asked about their health as part of a group's effort to keep the landfill from being built.

Citizens for a Safe Environment hired Emily Wurth, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to conduct a health survey of residents in the area.

The group was advised by a lawyer to have a survey done, said Frances Parks, the chairman of the group.

Opponents of the landfill say it could harm their health. They are opposing efforts by the county to build the landfill in their neighborhood.

Ms. Parks said the questionnaire seeks information about residents' age, health problems, whether they eat food grown from a garden, whether they drink water from a private well and how much time they spend outdoors.

Duplin County currently has no public landfill and ships its solid waste out of the county for disposal. The county Board of Commissioners has been considering the possibility of building a landfill somewhere in the county for several years. A site on Emmett Jackson Road was identified as a possible location but residents living nearby are adamantly opposed.

Ms. Wurth was hoping to talk to as many people in the area as possible. She said the questions are designed to assess the potential risk to residents' health from the location of a landfill. About 200 homes are located within two miles of the site. Some are located in Sampson County. Almost all of the town of Calypso is included.

After taking a holiday break, she is expected to resume conducting interviews Jan. 13.

The survey is confidential. The names of respondents will be removed from the form once it is completed, Ms. Wurth said.

Mrs. Parks said most people asked to participate in the survey have been cooperative. Only a handful have declined to answer questions, she said.

"We really want to thank the people for their cooperation," she said. "I know we've done over 100, and only three said no. I think that's pretty darn good."