Residents upset over debris grinding behind their neighborhood

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Storm debris removal is not over yet. New Hanover County has set up sites around the county to grind this debris into mulch.

Some residents are upset and say the process is driving them crazy. The environmental management department is in charge of the debris removal.

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Environmental Management Director Joe Suleyman says the county has collected 2.2 million cubic yards to date.

But some people are not happy with the removal process.

The work site is near the Grove Pointe neighborhood. Kristen Martin lives nearby and is sick of the noise.



“It’s got that deep, high decibel output. So you can’t even block it out with earplugs. I’m in school right now. I’m trying to study during the day. Read during the day,” said Kristen Martin, who says she cannot even drown out the sound inside her house.

Martin even filed a noise complaint with the county. She asks why New Hanover County chose land in a residential area.

WWAY reached out to Director Joe Suleyman.

“The sites are selected to offer optimum efficiency in collection. There are very few sites available that meet the DEQ criteria and have enough space available for this type of debris management operation,” said Suleyman, about why the county chose this land for the project.

Martin and her neighbors say it’s more than just the noise.

“There’s like mulch, sawdust, like snow coming down. We had to close our eyes so it wouldn’t blow in our eyes. And the smell. I would hate to think of what I’m breathing in,” said Martin.

A New Hanover County spokeswoman says contractors work seven day a week, from sunrise to sunset.

Suleyman says the grinding makes the disposal process more manageable.

Martin just wants a compromise.

“Keep it like nine to five. We don’t like to be woken up on a Sunday morning at 7am. Maybe cut out the weekends or a weekend day,” said Martin.

Residents will get a reprieve on Sundays. A county spokeswoman says starting Sunday, they will not start working until noon.

Suleyman says they hope to be done with everything by February.