WHITEVILLE -- A scrap metal facility in Whiteville is being investigated by several state agencies. It all started about two weeks ago when residents of the nearby New Hope trailer park community complained to authorities about excessive noise and fumes. Columbus County authorities are now working with the state board of investigations -- among other state agencies -- to determine whether petroleum is being released into the water. Metal Recycling Services recently purchased the facility from Carolina Recycling. The owner of M.R.S. said today that he had an environmental study done when he bought the property last year and that there weren't any problems. Still, residents in the nearby new hope trailer park are worried. [New Hope resident Clara Lawrence said, "Who wouldn't be concerned about it? When you're living in a neighborhood and your water is coming from a deep well, and all those fumes and gasses are going into the earth, and this water is going into our bodies. Yes, I am concerned." Other people said there is usually a strong gasoline smell coming from the plant. The plant's owner said he's not concerned about the investigation and is confident everything will be fine. A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Justice confirmed that the state Board of Investigation has taken water samples from creeks near the facility. She would not comment on the test results.
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