Landfill Concerns Prompt Riverkeeper Investigation

Environmental, Sound Rivers

Posted on August 27th, 2020

Tabbs Creek, photo taken from a resident’s property

A few weeks ago, concerned residents of Kittrell, North Carolina contacted your Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper – they had unexpectedly received letters in the mail stating that there would be a hearing regarding a zoning change on a property in Kittrell to allow for the construction of a landfill right next to their homes.

The proposed landfill sits on an 83 acre property off of Egypt Mountain Road, and would allow for the disposal of “land clearing and inert debris” – this includes things like tree stumps, yard debris, unpainted concrete, and bricks. While landfills for this type of debris bring less impact than something like a municipal solid waste or hazardous waste landfill, after some initial investigating, Sound Rivers shares the concerns of these neighbors and impacts that this proposed landfill would have on water quality of nearby creeks, one of which runs through the proposed landfill site, that feed into the Tar River.

Potential Impacts to Water Quality, Wetlands, and Endangered Species
Long Creek and associated wetlands run through the site of the proposed landfill, and Tabbs Creek runs along the border of the property. Both of these creeks empty into the Tar River a little bit more than a mile from this proposed property.

Tabbs Creek is home to two federally listed freshwater mussel species – the dwarf mussel (endangered) and yellow lance mussel (threatened) – under the Endangered Species Act. Given the topography of the property, which sits atop a hill, both Long Creek and Tabbs Creek are threatened by potential sediment runoff associated with a landfill operation and clearing/grading of the landfill.

Flooding Issues
The proposed development of this undeveloped, forested property into a landfill brings major flooding concerns. A portion of the property in the vicinity of Long Creek includes land within the 100 year floodplain. We know that climate change is only making flooding concerns worse – we do not need to be building landfills in the floodplain, close to critical water resources. Residents have also recounted that heavy storms in the area cause significant flooding of Egypt Mountain Road, and their properties along Tabbs Creek.

How to Take Action
There is a group of Kittrell residents organizing to oppose this project who will be attending and speaking at the Board of Adjusters hearing on September 10 at 4 pm at 122 Young Street, Henderson, and they are in need of support. If you would like additional information, and want to know how to get involved, including speaking at the upcoming Board of Adjusters hearing regarding this conditional use permit, contact Jill at

Your Riverkeepers work every day to fight for your clean water – and we’re here for you! If you have a concerns or question about your waterways, you can contact your Riverkeeper at or 252-946-7211.

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