Local News

Firm agrees to clean groundwater in Wake Forest neighborhood

Posted January 22

Flextronics International has agreed to clean up the groundwater that contaminated the wells at 21 homes along Stony Hill Road near Wake Forest.
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— A manufacturer has agreed to devise a plan to clean groundwater that tainted wells in a Wake Forest neighborhood for years, state environmental regulators said Friday.

Chlorinated solvents from two circuit board assembly firms that once had plants along Stony Hill Road spread to the drinking wells of about two dozen homes in the area.

What was then known as the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources first found groundwater contamination in 2005 and warned at least three possible developers between 2008 and 2010 about an "inactive hazardous site" in the area. Residents say, however, that they weren't told of any danger until U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests of area wells in 2012 turned up trichloroethylene, a cancer-causing chemical used for degreasing.

The EPA initially provided bottled water to residents and installed carbon filtration systems on some homes. In 2014, the federal agency paid to extend a water line to the neighborhood.

Now, under the proposed consent order between Flextronics International USA Inc. and the state Division of Waste Management, the company will clean up the contamination, provide an alternative source of drinking water to any residents whose wells might have been affected after the water line was installed and continue to monitor the groundwater in the area.

Flextronics didn't cause the contamination, officials said, but it purchased the two circuit board makers and became responsible for the damage.

"We are continuing to take specific steps to ensure that all the contamination is identified so that the cleanup process can be conducted effectively and efficiently," Linda Culpepper, director of the Division of Waste Management, said in a statement. "Our goal is to do everything we can to protect the health and environment of people living in the Stony Hill Road community."

The consent order will become official after a 30-day comment period, and officials said Flextronics will have to submit its plans to the Division of Waste Management for approval.

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