Letters to the Editor

Well Contamination Nightmare

Dear Appalachian Voice:
Thank you for your extensive coverage of water quality in your most recent issue. It was excellent. I have been beating that drum ever since I discovered last April that the water supplying the house that I rent in Boone had e. coli in it. Through my landlord, I was paying the neighbor a specific amount each month for my water. I discovered only by accident – I obviously wasn’t intended to find out – that the reason [they were] working on the well was contamination. The contamination helped to explain many strange health problems my wife and I had begun to experience from the day we moved into the house in October, 2008.

When my wife went to the neighbor to talk about it, she received no apology; discovered they had known about the potential contamination for at least several months – and it may have been a chronic problem extending back several years; and that the neighbors had taken steps to protect themselves by drinking bottled water and taking probiotics. The closest thing to an explanation offered for not informing us of the poisoning was that they “thought it was [college] students in the house.”

My landlord acted swiftly and responsibly and the house is now on city water, but many important considerations remain – if not for me, for others on wells in the [region]. In conversations with Boone’s health department at the time I discovered the contamination, I found out several important facts that local residents need to know.

(1) According to a rough estimate of one individual who tested our water, as many as 20% of wells in the area may be contaminated in some way.
(2) In the case of the e. coli, no source was traced. The contamination, however, could easily come from the local creek – from animals in the fields or through general runoff. This could happen with anybody’s well.
(3) With individual wells and those serving up to about 15 houses (I can’t remember the exact number now), there is no regulation of old wells for water quality.
(4) Individuals supplying others with water seem to have no statutory requirement to inform the people they are supplying either (a) of water quality with any regularity or (b) of contamination if discovered.
(5) Ultra-violet light treatment, although apparently effective, provides no means of ensuring that water quality remains safe if there is a power outage.  
(6) In real estate transactions, purchasers should specify a test of current water quality.   

Our neighbor said she was shocked to find e. coli in the water. “This is the kind of thing that happens in Third World countries,” my wife reported after the conversation. I think we need to wake up and accept that it happens here and do something about it before we have a major health disaster on our hands. 

Ron Davis
Boone, N.C.

Costs of Mountaintop Removal Outweigh Benefits

To the Editor,

It has amazed me that West Virginians keeps shooting themselves in the foot & then wondering why it hurts. This is a state that voted for Bush twice & went big time for McCain. Your July letter to the editor from the people who can’t see the forest for the trees explains it all. Their “jobs depend on mountaintop removal” letter blames everyone but the right people for their troubles.

Yes, George Bush was an enemy of the environment. To name just a few of his actions; he reneged on promises to regulate coal fired plants, pulled out of Kyoto, lied about & changed scientific data on global warming & fuel efficiency standards.

Additionally he gutted sections of the Clean Air & Clean Water Acts, reduced enforcement by the EPA, and defunded programs to clean up toxic waste. And yes, he approved mountain top removal for coal mining.

Do these people really believe destroying WV environment is preferable to developing new technologies to save & enhance that environment? Yes, it takes time & no we can’t wait any longer to act. If we do not act we will still be dependent in future on sources of foreign energy from people who hate us. We need to be a good example to the world. We can’t preach if we don’t “walk the walk.” We are not a third world country, at least not yet.

West Virginia also depends on tourism for income. Who wants to come to a totally flat, devastated state & spend their money.

The repercussions of mountaintop destruction far outweigh the short term benefits. Homes & lands destroyed, horrendous & expensive health problems, & poisoned water, plus air pollution. In most areas of the US, water is the new gold, but a lot of West Virginians don’t seem to care about their water.

I guess also many West Virginians don’t care about their health either. Since Scott & Heather suggest working towards finding a cure for cancer as an alternative option to fighting mountaintop removal, I suggest opposition to removal does just that. There would be a lot less cancer if the environment was cleaner.

Finally, I would rather be standing in an unemployment line for a time, as hard as that is, & be healthy; than be sick & exhausted with cancer. I can state that with authority since I have stood in those unemployment lines but am now too sick & exhausted to do so.

Sandra Gordon
149 Carriage Hill Lane
York, PA 17406

Mountain Lover

To the Editor,

After reading your Editorial page in the Appalachian Voice of June-July 2009. I have to admit that I agree with Ann Robinson of Tazewell County. I too feel that the best place for the windmills is in the central part of this nation.

I have traveled across this country many times. The only areas I’ve seen these windmills is on barren land. In areas that no one would want to live.

I do not feel that it is necessary to put them on the tops of the Appalachian, Smokies or Blue Ridge Mountains. Keep them in the Central part of this country where they will not destroy Mother natures beauty.

I realize that I am only John Doe public, and that we don’t have the money that the power companies do. But let’s face facts. They have destroyed the beauty of West Virgina with strip mining. Why let continue to destroy the beauty of our mountains with Windmills.

These mountains are our charge. The Lord gave them to us so we could enjoy their beauty, not destroy them.

A Mountain Lover,
Beverly Brown of North Carolina

Reconsider Animal Agriculture

Dear Editor,

This is in response to an article that appeared in [The Appalachian Voice] some time ago about the Heifer Project. Please re-consider your support of this “charity.” Encouraging animal agriculture is no favor to people, the planet, or the environment. Animal agriculture is not sustainable, it is cruel to the animals, and consumption of animal flesh and secretions is detrimental to human health. In fact, according to the China Study, meat and dairy are the #1 cause of most types of cancer. Please see this group for what they are – a front for the meat and dairy industries, and please end your support of them.

Thank you,
Cindy McDaniel


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