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Who may be responsible for Wake Forest toxic water?


NBC-17 Investigates is uncovering new details about who may be responsible for toxic dumping in Wake Forest.

In the late '90s, Jon Chapman worked for Circuit Board Assemblers. Chapman says the company used TCE.

"The TCE was among a lot of things. We had a vapor degreaser there, a high temperature oven, components, junk," said Chapman.

Chapman says the TCE was rarely used at Circuit Board Assembler's Youngsville facility and it was strictly regulated.

"We monitored it very closely. We knew it was hazardous. We knew it was a carcinogen. We knew pregnant women were very susceptible to this," Chapman said. "We kept our employees away from the material."

Chapman worked at the company's Youngsville facility. In 1999 a global manufacturing business, Flextronics International bought Circuit Board Assemblers, the Youngsville facility and with it came the TCE.

"It was less than a 55-gallon drum, but it was a pretty full drum."

Chapman continued to work for Flextronics at the Youngsville facility until 2005. He was the company's project manager. Chapman says Flextronics did not have much of a use for the drum of TCE.

"It sat in the corner of our building with a lot of other junk."

Chapman says a Wake Forest man, David Albright, wanted the TCE and Flextronics managers made the decision to give it to him.

"It really wasn't a long, thought-out process. It was, 'Come and get it. Get it out of here."

According to federal and state laws, a company cannot legally transfer hazardous chemicals without proper documentation.

"I don't recall doing anything, no," said Chapman.

Chapman says Albright took the TCE to his company, C-Tron, on Stony Hill Road in Wake Forest where he cleaned circuit boards.

"I don't know how he disposed of it," Chapman said.

Frank Lebron lives next door to the old C-Tron location. Lebron says he watched Albright clean circuit boards with TCE.

When NBC-17 asked Lebron if the toxic chemicals were disposed of properly, Lebron said, "They went right down into a basin in the building, out a pipe in the backyard and right onto the ground."

Lebron says he believes 50 to 100 gallons were disposed of onto the ground.

C-Tron is currently located in Franklinton. Albright died about seven years ago.

Flextronics no longer operates out of the Youngsville facility.

NBC-17 made several phone calls and left several messages with the company's headquarters in San Jose, Calif. By late Friday, Flextronics had not returned phone calls from NBC-17.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has identified three potentially responsible companies: C-Tron, Circuit Board Assemblers and Flextronics.  

The process of identifying who is responsible is complicated, and so far no government agency has definitively said who is responsible for the ground contamination.


Charlotte Huffman

An award-winning journalist with an investigative edge, Charlotte has driven legislative change with reports on workplace safety concerns and contaminated groundwater. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

Poison in the Water

There are at least 2,000 sites statewide where DENR knows there is TCE contamination that is likely spreading into the water of unsuspecting families. More>>

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