Local News

EPA finds contaminated well water in Wake Forest neighborhood

Posted September 12, 2012
Updated September 19, 2012

— The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating several contaminated wells in a Wake Forest neighborhood, from which residents say they've been drinking the water for years.

Well water at about 20 homes off Stony Hill Road tested positive for the carcinogen TCE – a cleaning agent used for de-greasing, EPA official Kenneth Rhame said Wednesday. About a dozen homes have TCE levels that exceed the limit set by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

At one home, EPA workers found TCE levels more than 65 times the safe drinking limit.

Homeowner Mark Stonefield said an EPA official came to his house at one point over the two-month investigation to test the well water. Three days later, the testers came back.

"They showed up with bottles of water and said, 'Stop drinking and stop showering,'" Stonefield said. He and his family immediately began drinking bottled water and showering at a nearby clubhouse.

"It scares me because of the kids," he said.

Rhame has been testing the wells and working with families affected by contaminated drinking water.

EPA: Contaminated well water found in Wake Forest EPA: Contaminated well water found in Wake Forest

"(People are) very concerned. It strikes some fear in some folks, especially not knowing how long they have been exposed (and) having children who have been drinking the water," Rhame said. 

He said the cancer-causing solvent is water soluble and travels underground.

"Once groundwater is contaminated, you're not going to fix it overnight," he said.

While the EPA continues its investigation into what caused the contamination, how long the water has been unsafe to drink and how the problem can be solved, Rhame and his team are passing out bottled water and installing carbon filters to those who qualify.

The agency is looking into a plan to extend water lines from a nearby community to affected homes so they won't have to use their wells.

95 Comments

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  • Reason Season Sep 20, 7:16 p.m.

    Why did it take the FEDs and EPA? We pay state taxes for DENR, DIVISION of WATER QUALITY, NCEEP, and the CLEAN WATER MANAGEMENT TRUST FUND. Contamination was discovered in 2005, right? I want to know SPECIFICALLY what divisions of DENR were involved in the clean-up, how it spread instead of being contained? And what if any 'grants' were involved? WRAL doesn't say the name of the company. WHY? What's wrong with NC and the ability to follow basic reporting WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW? Why did WRAL hide the name(s)?

  • peterpepper Sep 13, 7:41 p.m.

    This is terrible for those residents AND their prop. values.

    Will be facing this soon when we're "dumped on" by gas drilling.

  • geosol Sep 13, 3:38 p.m.

    themacs wrote; "It is amazing to me that some individuals are comfortable spouting wishes backed by opinions as though they are facts. Reasonable people can disagree about whether the costs of EPA regulations have outweighed the benefits. But it is an arrogant display of ignorance and/or dishonesty to say that the EPA has not produced concrete, measurable benefits.

    If you have to bluster or lie in order to make a point, perhaps it is time to re-think your position.".

    EXACTLY!!!!! This is one of the best posts ever written on the WRAL GOLO site. Thank you for your contribution. It explains so clearly how and why the right wing activists have been driving intelligent people away from the GOP these days. It's a real shame.

  • bombayrunner Sep 13, 2:51 p.m.

    As I'm watching the news with a tall glass of ice water this comes on .... fortunately I'm in Wakefield and its not from a well. But for a few moments I was pretty freaked out.

  • lovelarvae Sep 13, 2:03 p.m.

    "It is becoming more and more evident daily that the government. not God wants to be your source for drinking water."

    Is God going to monitor the wells and stop corporations from polluting our waters?

  • Crabbit Cratur Sep 13, 1:36 p.m.

    "AND tested regularly by someone outside of the EPA."

    Like who? A "for profit" LLC?

  • Crabbit Cratur Sep 13, 1:25 p.m.

    "Better check for PCBs which were used in transformers!"

    Isn't that whats polluted Lake Crabtree? Dumped by another industry that the GOP wants to deregulate.....

  • themacs Sep 13, 1:25 p.m.

    It is amazing to me that some individuals are comfortable spouting wishes backed by opinions as though they are facts. Reasonable people can disagree about whether the costs of EPA regulations have outweighed the benefits. But it is an arrogant display of ignorance and/or dishonesty to say that the EPA has not produced concrete, measurable benefits.

    If you have to bluster or lie in order to make a point, perhaps it is time to re-think your position.

  • Crabbit Cratur Sep 13, 1:23 p.m.

    "The biggest contaminant in Stony Hills is probably the EPA."

    Sigh.....

    " If I owned there, first I would accept nothing from the government, then I would hire an independent agency to run tests on my well. Then I would make a decision based on that as to my next step."

    LOL what choices would you have......play Russian roulette with your health or get Gov. water......

    " The last thing a homeowner wants is dependency on his government for any of the three essentials of life."

    yeah clean safe water food and air are just hellish!

    " It is becoming more and more evident daily that the government. not God wants to be your source for drinking water."

    God???? You think God makes it rain??? I wonder what the West did to so annoy him this year......

    " The price of a gallon of government controlled water is going to rival the price of a gallon of gas"

    LOL try getting private water cheaper........

  • mep Sep 13, 1:16 p.m.

    If I were drinking well water.... it would already be filtered AND tested regularly by someone outside of the EPA. Deep wells are also far less likely to become contaminated. Well water has been used safely for centuries.... but you have to keep up with the times.

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