Asbestos From Old Mill Found In Davidson Park; Access Restricted

Jan 30, 2020

Updated 5:34 p.m.
The town of Davidson is restricting access to a town park after tests found asbestos in several locations. Town officials say the asbestos at Roosevelt Wilson Park off Griffith Street is from the former Carolina Asbestos mill nearby. 

The latest discovery came as workers tested soil in preparation for park improvements.  

"We don’t know at this point how many cubic yards of soil," Davidson Public Works Director Doug Wright said in an email. He also wasn't sure about a cleanup. 

"We don’t have a full plan yet, since the info is very new," he said.  

Davidson officials met Thursday with representatives from the state Department of Health and Human Services.  Town spokeswoman Amanda Preston said: 

"We’re still at the beginning stages of all this, but we’re working closely with state agencies to ensure we’re doing everything by the book. We’ll be sure to share more details about our plans in the coming days and weeks as we are able.  In the interim, the affected areas of the park are closed and marked off with signage and fencing. All other areas of the park, including the play structure and restrooms, remain open." 

Decades ago, the mill provided waste asbestos for use as fill in residents' yards and driveways and other properties.  It's a concern because airborne asbestos can cause lung cancer and other potentially fatal ailments.  

Earlier this month, state officials proposed declaring the neighborhoods around the old mill as an "asbestos watch area."

In 2017, the federal Environmental Protection Agency spent $3 million on a cleanup of yards and properties found contaminated with asbestos. There's also still asbestos around the mill, now called the Metrolina Warehouse.  A developer is proposing a cleanup as part of a plan to redevelop the site.