Badin Business Park is located on the site of a former aluminum smelter operated by Alcoa Inc. The smelter began operations in 1917, long before anyone understood the potential impact of waste materials and before there were any environmental regulations in place.

Beginning in 1990, Alcoa Inc. began to take action to identify and investigate waste sites in Stanly County related to its operations. A total of 49 potential waste sites were identified and measurable progress has been made in addressing any sites that might pose a health or environmental threat.

Significant steps have been taken to address environmental issues at the former plant site, including the removal and disposal of 725+ tons of contaminated soils, asbestos and other materials; the installation of new liners, soil covers and caps; the relocation, repair and replacement of storm piping and sewer lines; and the closure of permitted facilities.

The majority of environmental issues at the site have been resolved. Remaining issues primarily involve groundwater-related concerns at three areas.

Learn more about our environmental progress and the current status of waste sites.

There are recommended limits on the consumption of largemouth bass and catfish. These limits are not related to discharges of fluoride or cyanide from Badin Business Park. The advisory on largemouth bass applies to all waters in the State of North Carolina. The guidelines on catfish are specific to Badin Lake but are not related to current discharges from the Badin Business Park site. In all instances, people are advised to not consume more than one fish per week. In addition, no consumption is recommended for pregnant women, women of childbearing age, and children under 15.

To comply with its water quality permit, Badin Business Park proposed upgrading its stormwater piping system to better manage water discharges near and into Badin Lake. The 2020 proposal sought to improve discharges to Little Mountain Creek by diverting water to an existing diffuser at Badin Lake. The diffuser would have mixed the discharge so that it met all state and federal water quality standards before entering Badin Lake. (Note: The water currently discharged into Badin Lake at that outfall already complies with all permit limits.)

Badin Business Park was not seeking to change its permit conditions or discharge higher concentrations of cyanide into Badin Lake. Cyanide is rarely observed in the proposed discharge and, when detected, concentrations were lower than what might be discharged into the lake presently and below existing permit limits established by DEQ that are protective of human health and the environment.

To complete this work, a Special Order by Consent was requested from the state in 2020. The order would have provided compliance flexibility while Badin Business Park worked on site improvements. In February 2021, DEQ announced that the request would not be granted.

Badin Business Park remains committed to meeting its environmental responsibilities. We continue exploring ways to prevent contaminated groundwater and surface water from being discharged from the site. We are working closely with technical experts and the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to look for alternative solutions. We want to identify measures that will allow us to comply with our permit and be protective of the environment and human health.

Badin Business Park continues working to resolve groundwater issues at the site. Groundwater with fluoride and cyanide concentrations are being addressed through the RCRA program.

Detailed soil analysis has been conducted around the plant site for many years. Site soils have been removed on occasion in consultation with the NC Department of Environmental Quality.

In October 2021, approximately 2,000 tons of soil was removed from the Badin Business Park site to further reduce fluoride discharges into Little Mountain Creek. These soils were analyzed and characterized in accordance with North Carolina’s solid waste regulations and taken offsite to an industrial landfill that handles non-hazardous waste.

There are no indications that removing additional soil will improve groundwater conditions.

Additional treatment to such low levels is technologically not feasible. The North Carolina water quality standards (1.8 parts per million for fluoride, and 5.0 parts per billion for total cyanide) are at the treatment limits of conventional technologies dealing with large bodies of water.

Badin Business Park conducts ongoing monitoring around the former site in accordance with its water permit. The permit under which Badin Business Park is allowed to discharge water has limits for “Daily Max” and “Monthly Average” discharges. Here is the difference:

Daily Max: The maximum concentration allowed for any one single sample. Daily max averages are typically associated with acute, short-term exposure.

Monthly Average: The allowable average of daily discharges over a calendar month — calculated as the sum of all daily discharges measured during a calendar month divided by the number of daily discharges measured during that month. Monthly averages are associated with chronic, long-term exposure.

The daily maximum limit has not been exceeded. There have been occasional violations of the monthly average limit at Outfall 005, primarily related to fluoride discharges. In all cases, water discharged from Badin Business Park remains protective of human health and the environment.