Local News

Cumberland homes to tap into Fayetteville water after high arsenic levels

Posted June 4, 2014

— Water relief is on the way for residents in about two dozen homes in a neighborhood dealing with a contaminated drinking supply just outside Fayetteville's city limit.

Those living in the Bullard Circle neighborhood have been using bottled water since December when high levels of arsenic were detected in wells.

City and county leaders recently approved a plan that will allow residents to tap into the Fayetteville Public Works Commission water line, which is about 1,000 feet away, without the neighborhood being annexed by the city of Fayetteville.

PWC and Cumberland County plan to split the cost of initially hooking Bullard Circle homes to city water. Residents will pay for the connection over the next 15 years.

Residents like Jerry Turbeville say that's great news.

Last year, he spent nearly $12,000 drilling a 400-foot well in his backyard only to find the water tainted.

"Then they tested across the lake. They tested two. They were positive for arsenic. So, then they said we'd better test them all. And I think all but two wells have tested positive now."

That includes Sarah Milliken's well.

Every day, she lugs 4-gallon jugs next door to her neighbor's house for water. For the past 15 years, she's been drinking contaminated well water. That has her concerned.

"I have problems with my stomach. I have severe migraines, and for no reason at all, I have bouts of nausea," she said.

Now, the local health department is encouraging all Cumberland County residents to have private wells tested at least every two years.

Last year, the county tested only 220 water samples. Of those, nearly half had elevated levels of toxins, such as arsenic, lead and nitrates found in fecal matter.

Cumberland County Environmental Health Director Daniel Ortiz says contaminated wells are a problem statewide.

The state only began requiring water tests on new wells in 2008, and after that, it's up to homeowners and residents to follow up on the tests.

"There are thousands, millions, of wells out there that were constructed prior to 2008, and no water testing was done at all," Ortiz said. "You have neighborhoods that have been on public well water for years and never tested."


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  • monami Jun 5, 2014

    Just a little arsenic? Just wait until the fracking toxins are pumped into the water supply. Get used to it, it's only going to get worse.

  • heard-it-all-before Jun 5, 2014

    View quoted thread

    yeah when that comes around i guess we'll have to burn our water first before filtering it.

    at least we won't need to buy charcoal lighter fluid anymore. just soak them in a bucket of water first! lol

  • AngryBird Jun 5, 2014

    Screw the wells, I would be testing the lake they all seem to live near. Odds are the contamination resulted over decades and can be directly contributed to one of the feeder streams into the lake.

    Find the water route and you will find the source.

  • jmcdow2792 Jun 5, 2014

    If it is 400 ft deep and on both sides of the lake (stream) it sounds like surface contamination is less likely. Will be intersting to see the source. I hope WRAL does follow up.

  • carlomontenegro1 Jun 5, 2014

    A further reminder that the cornerstone of any civilization is clean drinking water.

  • UpChuck Jun 5, 2014

    Was there any "old lace" in the immediate area? That could explain a lot of things.

  • Grand Union Jun 5, 2014

    View quoted thread

    It might even take out the fracking fluid......if we knew what it was.......

  • John McCray Jun 5, 2014
    user avatar

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    Ignorant claim by someone with no apparent knowledge of the hydraulic cycle or past land use. The Fayetteville area is home to contamination sources such as this one http://www.epa.gov/region4/superfund/sites/npl/northcarolina/capfwprenc.html in which arsenic is a main threat. Other operations such as hog and poultry farming produce arsenic-containing byproducts. And chemicals containing arsenic and lead are used in orchard operations. So, chances are, the contamination didn't just happen "all by itself," as you postulated.

  • heard-it-all-before Jun 5, 2014

    get a Berkey water filter. best $300 you'll ever spend.

  • Forthe Newssite Jun 5, 2014
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    you don't miss a chance to spew your hatred do you? BUT the water did NOT become contaminated BY ITSELF and once fracking starts it still won't be contaminated BY ITSELF, but it sure will be quicker than this arsenic was....