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Wake to Examine Impact of Wells on Falls Lake

Posted December 20, 2007

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— Wake County plans to study the effects of private wells on the area water supply.

About 30,000 county residents use wells, officials said. Some wells are individually owned, while others are shared by several property owners.

In the past year, 120 people applied to dig their own wells on their property, which officials said was double the average in previous years.

"We have a culture in this state, in Raleigh, that says, 'Hey, we've got green grass, and want to keep it green,'" said Greg Bright, a groundwater specialist with Wake County's Environmental Services Department.

Bright said the study, which will be done early next year, will look at whether well use is depleting Falls Lake, which is Raleigh's primary reservoir.

"There is some thought that, maybe if there's a lot of groundwater being pulled out of the ground, does it have some impact on the amount of water that goes into Falls (Lake) basin," he said.

Raleigh has banned outdoor watering and personal washing of cars as the supply of drinking water in the lake continues to dry up. The lake has about 95 days of water left.

But those restrictions don't apply to Valerie Dudley, who has a private well and was washing her car Thursday.

"We can water when we have to," Dudley said. "Since the well water doesn't have the regulations, we can pretty much wash our car as freely as we want, which is pretty nice. We don't have to look over our shoulder every time we want to do something."

Bright said the study also will examine the effect of community wells on smaller ones in the watershed.

 "As we plan growth and we put more community wells and private well in, we don't (want) someone's private well go dry because we've placed a community well nearby," he said.

Privacy rights limit regulations that could be imposed on well users, but officials said they could seek state legislation on private wells to conserve water.

"We don't want to make a knee-jerk reaction. We would need some firm data before we looked at anything like that," Bright said.

39 Comments

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  • joco cruiser Dec 22, 2007

    It's really hard to determine the net effect of using a well. Thewater table is controlled by so many different factors other than a well. On the flip side, we all know that if you dump hazardous material in your yard there is a chance of it getting into your neighbors water supply. To me, that is a strong indication that what you do on your property is not limited to your property.

    Many years ago people thought of others as well as themselves. Seems these days they can only think of themselves.

  • common_sense_plz Dec 21, 2007

    I really do not think that 30,000 people in the entire county affects the supply of water in falls lake. Further more anyone on well water and has lived on well water all their life know that in a drought situation that we are in now, we cannot take our water for granted, just as the city are now unable to take theirs for granted. We have not washed or watered our cars or gardens, in months. I did not purchase any pansies this fall, because I knew that I would not be able to water them, and if we are still suffering from the drought this spring, I will not plant anything for the summer, with the exception of tomatos in pots. We have to conserve, we have no choice, many of us know that our supply has a limit as well, anyone who thinks any different....well they are just idiots.

  • Redfoxxnc Dec 21, 2007

    Brilliance at work once again. People with private wells should still be concerned about the water situation. As it has been stated, eventually,they too will run out without the proper amount of rain. Just because you own it doesn't mean you should be stupid about it. Whats more important, drinking water or a clean car washed on a green lawn?

  • Pharmboy Dec 21, 2007

    At least we don't live in Atlanta. The city is suing the corps of engineers for dumping some millions of lake water out in the middle of a severe drought.

  • Pharmboy Dec 21, 2007

    Actually, the government has the power to force you to give up property as long as they give you current value compensation. The land under you house is technically US property. If you pored hazardous material into your property, it is still illegal without a permit sue to the chance it could contaminate the environment.

  • flashlight Dec 21, 2007

    I want them to stop doing the study so I can complain that there's not enough being done to make sure there is enough water to go around.

  • nascar33 Dec 21, 2007

    I guess ellyn wants to regulate every aspect of our private lives. That being said, the person that is washing their car that is on a private well is an idiot. They have no idea when that well will run dry. I have been on wells almost all of my life and I practice conservation of water all the time, after all if it goes dry, it's my problem, no one else's. I have always been amazed at how much water city people waste.

  • Steve Crisp Dec 20, 2007

    OK ellyn...I'll answer your question. Just what part of property rights do you not understand?

    I own everything on the footprint of my property right down to the core of the earth. All the minerals. All the water. All the oil. All the natural gas. Anything that passes under my land is mine even if it migrated over from your land.

    Now, what I do with those resources is my business. You many not like it, but they are mine and I will use them as I see fit.

  • Garden Guy Dec 20, 2007

    I guess the water levels in the local aquifers will always be high, and there's no need to conserve water. Wash cars, water grass, what the h*ll turn that spigot on and let it flow. Pretty much the same attitude as the short-sighted water management types found in our local city governments.

  • alwayslovingu30 Dec 20, 2007

    Here we go again just anotherprime example of sorry a crooked politics I wash my house an my car if Ichoose if the well is mine leave me alone just trying to tell us what to do on our land again.In time you will need A permit to speak how much is that going to cost us taxpayers.illegals are counting on us to pay our taxes so it can go to them wrong but the way it works

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