Cumberland homes to tap into Fayetteville water after high arsenic levels
Posted June 4
Fayetteville, N.C. — 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."