Former Industrial Sites Case Studies & Resources

Case Studies & Resources

Case Study #1: Rocky Mount, NC

In 2017, the Duke University Superfund Research Center started working with planners at the City of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The City was interested in exploring redevelopment possibilities for the Planter’s Oil Mill site, where for almost 90 years, cottonseed oil was processed and shipped via the nearby railroad tracks.

The city had a number of technical documents from EPA about the site, but they asked for some additional support with interpreting and breaking down the existing EPA environmental site assessments. The Duke Superfund CEC created a number of resources to communicate complex information about site history, contamination status, and cleanup efforts for members of the community. We created the following products resources:

Rocky Mount Project Resources

MapHub map that lists in visual form the chemicals that were tested for and their locations and levels at the site, coded by color for whether they were at/below (indicated in orange) or above (indicated in red) state health guidance levels.
JS Knight Timeline to describe the history of contamination at the site.
PowerPoint presentation with examples of “Brownfields Success Stories” collected by the EPA, using sites with similar characteristics to the Planters Oil Mill location. This was presented at community meetings to spur ideas and conversations about potential redevelopment opportunities for the site.
Factsheet for the community to describe polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a type of contaminant that was found at high levels in soil at the site, and their potential health impacts.
Infographic on capping, a technique that was used to contain the contaminants at the Planters Oil Mill site and reduce possible exposures, also handed out at community meetings.
— “Frequently Asked Questions” document and connections to expert resources who could help the community think through safe redevelopment options, both in English and Spanish.

Graduate students Jimena Perez-Viscasillas and Emily Jewell assisted with the development of these resources.

Case Study #2: Navassa, NC

In 2018, one of our CEC Community Advisory Board members introduced us to Barnes Sutton, Planner for the Town of Navassa, North Carolina. Navassa is a coastal town with a lot of historical importance for African Americans including important Gullah Geechee heritage. The town’s proximity to the waterfront near Wilmington has begun to lead to rapid growth. Many former industrial sites in the town are being explored for possible reuse and redevelopment. The Duke University Superfund Research Center engaged with the Town by gathering information on these sites including past contamination, current status, and possible next steps needed for cleanup and redevelopment. This was turned into a report that was presented to the Town Council in 2019.

Read more about Mr. Sutton, in this two-part series from Coastal Review Online, published in March 2020:

“Where I’m Supposed to Be: Navassa Town Planner”

“Navassa History Misunderstood: Town Planner”

Map image showing old industrial sites within the town. Presented to Navassa Town Council in Spring 2019