Front Porch Blog

Water Contamination Reaches Durham County

Despite the more than 21,000 N.C. sites that have been contaminated by leaky underground tanks, no law requires public officials to notify the people who live nearby.

Later this year, the NC General Assembly is expected to hear legislation, brought by Rep. Bernard Allen D-Wake, which would require localities to require well tests when homes or businesses change hands. It also requires that surrounding communities are notified when contamination is found.

“In general, our experience is that people are not notified” in time to avoid drinking bad water, said Hope Taylor-Guevara of Clean Water for North Carolina.

This is in light of a recent incident in Durham County in which a boy fell ill from lead poisoning traced to tapwater. The County, for confidentially reasons, will only share that the child is younger than 6.

Such exposures usually result from lead from plumbing parts or pipes rather than from tainted water circulating throughout a city’s water system. Health officials have found no other source of likely lead contamination.

Legislation requiring residents to be notified of contamination is a good thing (they should also tell the local fish, who are having a heck of a time with mercury poisoning.) Mecklenburg County recently identified 1300 “known or suspected” groundwater contamination sites. They say they have a map here, but it was down when I tried it. They say that 1 in 5 Mecklenburg residents uses well water.





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