Statesville Library-Public Information Meeting

  1. Letter from Iredell County BOC
  2. Public Information Meeting

Dear Patrons of the Iredell County Public Library:

In a press release on Thursday, April 19th, the County informed the public of an environmental issue recently discovered to be impacting the Statesville Branch of the Iredell County Public Library system.  That press release is posted in its entirety on the County’s website at

So what happened? We recently learned of an environmental incident in close proximity to the Iredell County Public Library in downtown Statesville.  The environmental incident involved the discovery of a concentration of Perchloroethylene (PCE), also known as Tetrachloroethylene, in the groundwater that was above the State standards; this chemical is commonly used in dry cleaning.  The incident is believed to have occurred sometime prior to 1999.  The location of the discovery on nearby Gordon Avenue was subsequently entered into the North Carolina Dry Cleaning Solvent Cleanup Act Program and was reported some time after in several other State databases. 

The County had no reason to know of the incident and would not have known of the incident but for due diligence it recently conducted at nearby property.  Upon discovery of this incident, the County immediately engaged environmental consultants to assist in determining the impact, if any, the contamination may have on the functioning of the library and library services at the Statesville branch.  The County was advised by its consultants that the presence of PCE in the groundwater could infiltrate in structures on the property, particularly into the basement of the library building since the basement is subsurface.

The consultants first conducted a series of borings for soil-gas samples outside the library building; this would determine if the off-site contamination impacted the library property.  The results of the soil borings indicated that the contamination had spread to the County property and were at levels that could infiltrate the library building. 

The consultants then conducted multiple indoor sampling tests of the air in the library, both on the basement level and the main level.  Since the library is frequented by the public, and particularly children, the consultants advised the County to utilize a more protective standard in analyzing the test results.  This standard is the North Carolina Residential Indoor Air Screening Level of 8.3 µg/M3 and the Non-Residential Indoor Air Screening Level of 35 µg/M3.   The final test results received on April 13, 2018 indicated that PCE levels did not exceed the North Carolina Non-Residential Indoor Air Screening Level standard. The concentrations of the samples taken in the basement did exceed the North Carolina Residential Indoor Air Screening with test results ranging between 11 to 24 µg/M3; the samples collected on the main floor did not exceed this standard.  The County also took immediate action to change the airflow in the library to increase the amount of air circulating from the outside.  

For the purposes of comparison, we were given the analogy that this level is less than the exposure a person would have when putting on a newly dry-cleaned shirt.  Regardless of what seemingly is a low level of PCE, out of an abundance of caution and because the final test results indicated concentrations exceeding the North Carolina Residential Indoor Air Screening Level, the County is proceeding immediately with plans to mitigate the vapor intrusion into the basement level of the library.  These plans will involve two primary steps.  First, installing a collection and ventilation system that will collect the subsurface PCE vapors from under the library foundation and pipe it up and out of the library at the roof level.  Second, installing a vapor barrier above the building slab and under the floor covering that will in effect seal the foundation.  This second step will require removal of all existing floor covering and the interior of basement walls that are exposed to the subsurface on the exterior.  We believe we should take any and all necessary steps to ensure the continued well-being of our library patrons and employees.

In order to accommodate the construction and relocation of certain library services, the Statesville branch of the library will be closed on Friday, April 20th and Saturday, April 21st.  It is anticipated that the basement level of the library will remain closed for approximately two months during the construction. However, the upper floors are scheduled to remain open to the public.  During this time, the children’s section will be relocated to the main level of the library.

            As Commissioners, we want to ensure that you are receiving correct and accurate information about the impact of the environmental issue on the library and your patronage of the Statesville branch.  The County will be hosting an informational meeting on April 24, 2018 at 5:30pm, at the Statesville Branch, located at 201 N. Tradd Street in downtown Statesville.  At this meeting, representatives of the County along with members of our consultant team, who have been retained to conduct testing and advise us on how to mitigate the issue we are facing, will be present to answer your questions and explain what has occurred. 

            If you have any questions or concerns, we encourage you to attend this meeting.  If you are unable to attend, please direct any questions to Beth Jones, Acting County Manager, at 704-878-3050 or  


                                                                                    Best regards,

                                                                                    Iredell County Board of Commissioners

James B. Mallory III, Chairman

                                                                                                Thomas Bowles, Vice Chairman

                                                                                                Gene Houpe

                                                                                                Jeff McNeely

                                                                                                Marvin Norman