Navy investigating compacted trash disks found on Outer Banks beaches

Photo courtesy of Kill Devil Hills resident Heather Cremia

CAROVA BEACH, N.C. (AP/WAVY) — The U.S. Navy is investigating after compacted trash disks similar to those made on its ships washed up on beaches on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Kill Devil Hills resident Heather Cremia tells 10 On Your Side she has collected 17 discs.

“I want answers. I want to know why this happened, how they got away with it and how long this has been going on and I want it to end,” Cremia told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings.

Cremia says she found the first disc in Kill Devil Hills on April 27, and her friend found several other discs while working in Carova on Mother’s Day.

Describing how she felt, Cremia said she felt, “Disgusted. Upset.”

Gallery: Trash disks found in the Outer Banks

“I pick up trash on the beach almost every day, but this is absurd. It’s really upsetting to me,” she said. “Who knows how many are out there. How many more are floating in our oceans?”

Ted Brown, with the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, said the disks appear to be similar to those made on Navy ships to compress plastic waste for easy storage until a ship reaches port. Brown said ships are prohibited from dumping plastic into the ocean under Navy policy and environmental regulations.

Kill Devil Hills resident Heather Cremia sent in photos to 10 On Your Side May 19 of a Navy team picking up the trash discs. Courtesy: Heather Cremia

Brown told Cummings by phone, “I wouldn’t want to speculate on how something like this could happen.”

Of the typical process he explained, “The plastic is separated, put into a plastics processor and the disks are stored on board until we can safely dispose of them on shore.”

Brown said the Navy first learned this week about the disks washing up on shore. Now, they are investigating what ships may have been in the area.

The Navy is planning to send a message to operating units reminding them of the plastic disposal policy, Brown said.

Cremia also showed 10 On Your Side a white drum which she said also came from the beach.

“They’re washing up on the same exact beaches with the disk with bullet holes in them,” she said.

Cremia sent photos to 10 On Your Side Friday of a Navy team picking up the trash disks.

Brown said earlier in the week the Navy will also investigate their origin.

“I am not familiar with that being on ships that I have been on. That is something we will certainly take a look at,” he said.

A crew is expected to travel from Norfolk to North Carolina this week to collect the disks and at least one drum.

Stay with WAVY.com for developments.