A Toxic Legacy in Badin

The Alcoa aluminum smelter in Badin is gone but the waste from decades of aluminum production remains. Yadkin Riverkeeper works with the Badin community to ensure clean up of contamination around Alcoa's old Badin smelter site.  

For decades before our environmental laws were in place, Alcoa disposed of "spent potliner" and other industrial byproducts in the old landfill and at other locations around Badin.  Yadkin Riverkeeper is working with the state of North Carolina to ensure that Alcoa is not permitted to discharge contaminants like cyanide into Little Mountain Creek and Badin Lake and to monitor the presence of PCBs in fish living in those Yadkin watershed streams and lakes.  

Alcoa's Yadkin River Project

  • Despite being closed, the Badin site discharged over 500 pounds of cyanide into the waters of Little Mountain Creek in 2010 alone.

  • The State of North Carolina, as of spring 2015, is in a lawsuit disputing who owns the bed of the Yadkin River, Alcoa or the public.

  • The estimated revenue of Alcoa's Yadkin Project exceeds $10 million a year, with the power being sold now that the smelter is closed.

Make an Impact

For 90 years, Alcoa owned and operated an aluminum smelter along the banks the Yadkin River, specifically Badin Lake. During that time, cyanide, fluoride, PCB’s, PAH’s and other toxins, including arsenic, were generated and disposed of through Alcoa’s 13 outfall pipes into Badin Lake and outfalls into Little Mountain Creek. Hazardous materials were also buried throughout the community of Badin at 44 identified location, without liners. Buried waste continues to contaminate ground and surface water around the old Badin smelter. In November 2014 the EPA agreed to conduct a preliminary assessment for Superfund status of the retired Alcoa smelter site. Join the Riverkeeper as we work alongside the residents of the Badin community to protect beautiful Badin lake and its landscape for future generations.