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PENDER COUNTY, NC– Many people in Burgaw that live off NC 53 are starting to have water issues. Those Pender County residents say their problems stem from a mine.

Mitchell Watts and his mother Mayo have lived off NC 53 in Burgaw for 20 years. Their property once consisted of a large pond surrounded by a flourishing nursery and now the flowers are gone and so is their water.

“It really has changed,” said Mayo Watts. “It was a pretty place at one time but it sure has changed now. It’s nothing like it used to be.”

“Since they opened that quarry over there we’ve had well problems, my pond has been dry every year, it’s been dry ever since the spring this year and it stays dry, ” said Mitchell Watts.

The property across from the Watts family home is Shelter Creek Lime and Stone.

According to Mitchell Watts, that mine is over 100 feet deep and the water being pumped from that mine is the water of people who live near it.

The Watts family and other neighbors of the rock quarry were welcomed to present their case to the Pender County Board of County Commissioners on Monday.

“It’s not my fault and it’s not the neighbors fault that their wells go dry,” said Neal Padgett. “It’s the quarry’s fault. They are the ones that should be held accountable.”

The issue was continued by the Board of County Commissioners and will be addressed again next month.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest3422

    These people are ignorant. Its been a very dry year. These peoples wells are fine. WWAY is only telling one side of the story.

  • Guest270

    Are you privy to hydrological data from the area? It has been a dry year and that was my immediate thought too upon reading the article but that may not explain all of it. I’m from north western Pender county and after a large fish farm was put in and its ponds filled with water pumped from deep wells homes around the area had to have new wells drilled as their’s started pulling up a lot of sediment and minerals.
    I don’t know if the mine is part of the problem, the whole problem or not the cause at all but I wouldn’t make such a blanket statement before I knew the facts. Calling someone ignorant is easy, proving that you yourself are not is another matter entirely.

  • Guest

    No, these people have a point, i use to work in the quarry, and they need a lot of water to wash the rock, to water the roads to keep the dust down, and water to run the plant period! I have seen what they do when their run out of water there, they start drilling more holes, and sucking up more water. The owner of the quarry cares about one person and one person only himself, he is a lier, and will get rid of anyone that speaks up about the stuff being done out there.

  • Guest

    Just curious! What is your position with the Shelter Creek Quarry?

  • The man who owned the land before the mine went in cleard the land where the pits are now and started raising cows.The EPA found out about it and claimed the area was WETLANDS.He was forced to remove the cows and replant the area cleared with trees.A certain ex County Commissioner bought the land and not long after that the mine went in.How can it be illegal to raise cows on the land but you can dig 100ft holes and keep them pumped dry?

  • t woodcock

    It is a total disgrace to the People of Pender county that our county commissioners would allow this mine .Hi-way 53 is already falling in due to sink holes around this mine.You all should know that the origanal owner and creator of this mine was a pender county commissioner.I wonder why he had no trouble getting his permits?

  • t woodcock

    The only ignorant people in this story are the ones blasting a 150′-100 acre gourge in the earth,pumping 1 million gallons of water a day out of it and saying that it has no effect on the land,water,and environment.

  • Guest

    Guest 270,

    Your comments were right on target: we need good information to render informed decisions. I know the original owner of the mine and he worked hard for almost six years before getting the necessary permits. I know that the original owner also spent thousands of dollars getting the required permits and actually building the quarry. I know a bit about EPA: I worked as a scientist with them for several years. The permits were not issued to the previous owner without extensive hydrological data and estimated damage to the aquifer. As an aside, I would also tell you that the previous owner had developed ideas for a charitable trust with some of the mine profits. He also hoped to provide many well-paying jobs to county residents. Unfortunately, the down-turn in the economy got in the way of the best of intentions.

  • 155

    There is a old saying , THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS. I have no doubt that in the good ole U S A our freedoms And rights are Guaranteed by many good americans who gave up much,even thier lives. The previous mine owner has the right to invest and spend his money ,time,and influence any way he wishes.But when he or anyone else involved in this mine start effecting thier nieghbors in a negitive way its time to back up and do whats right. I keep hearing about all the positive from the people involved in this mine,but I do not see much concern about the negative.


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