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North Raleigh residents worry development could dry them out

Posted October 28, 2014

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— Residents in the North Falls subdivision are worried that a new development could dry up their private wells.

“We turn on the faucet, the water comes out,” said Eric Fitzgerald, who lives in the north Raleigh neighborhood. “If it doesn’t, think about how that affects your day to day life.”

The new development would consist of 66 homes with deeper, more powerful high-capacity wells.

But there’s enough water to accommodate both neighborhoods, said Greg Bright, groundwater program supervisor with the Wake County Department of Environmental Services.

“The developer has a right to develop that property, and the state permits those wells,” he said. “It goes through a permitting process with the state to make sure it meets all their standards before its put into use.”

North Falls residents fear they will end up like the Norwood Oaks area, where several private wells dried up in 2010 after commercial wells were installed nearby. Affected homeowners were forced to tap into a utility line.

Private well owners do not pay for water, but those who use a utility line do.

County rules allow for homeowners to ask for help if their water begins to run dry, but they can’t do anything until there’s a problem.

“We can’t pump what’s not there,” Fitzgerald said.

17 Comments

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  • miseem Oct 29, 2014

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    Funny coming from someone who doubts the accuracy of anything presented by a government agency. I agree that you have to have something to base the amount of water available. What the current residents need to determine is what the county and state are basing their approvals on. There is a big difference between the normal water needs of a 3 bedroom house and a 4 bedroom house with an in ground pool and an irrigation system covering an acre of land. And if the higher demand coupled with a moderate drought are not considered, there can be some serious problems. And the attitude of some other posters does not give any weight to arguments of the current residents. Of course, that's the logic used by the fracking industry. That's not our pollution/depletion/disruption of ground water. It's just a natural occurrence and we had nothing to do with it. Just stop griping and drill another well. Or tap into another system miles away. And shut up.

  • Mark Neill Oct 29, 2014
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    That would be a great example, if it were "your" electricity. That's like complaining that someone upwind of you is making "your" air too smoky, or that someone on the field next to yours is stealing the pollen from "your" special plants.

    Why is it conservatives are all about private property rights and self-sufficiency all the way up to the point where they can't take everything they want any more, and then the issue is that someone else is taking "your" stuff?

  • Doug Hanthorn Oct 29, 2014
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    On the other hand, they could act like adults and realize that things change. Free water could run out. The city will probably annex them some day and they will just have to move farther away for their free water. Jeez.

  • notexactly Oct 29, 2014

    The easiest thing, but not the most expensive, is to get the homeowners together and offer to purchase the land from the developer. I am sure he would sale it and move on. That way the homeowners can decide what goes there and when. When my neighbor passes, I have the first call to purchase her land which will give me a 15 acre buffer around one side of my property. The other side is already mine. That way I can decide what is done with that land and who will be living beside me. But that is why I chose to live in the country. You really cant tell people what they can and cant do on their land in the country as long as they go by the county rules, which are nowhere near as abrasive as city laws. Hope they can come to an agreement

  • Just another bad guy Oct 29, 2014

    For whatever natural reason, groundwater is scarce in this part of the county. Multiple test wells are drilled just to find enough water for the homes in each development. A private water company treats and pipes the water and most homeowners do get charged. With so little water, I can see the concern with losing what you have and not having another option (city water).

  • notexactly Oct 29, 2014

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    I see your point as well. But the land owners do have a right to build on their land. I feel an agreement should be put forth saying if the new development causes water issues with the surrounding area, then the developer must do whatever is required to get those homes water, or the developer must make the new homes tap to the utility system. That , I think would please the older homes in this area. Maybe not. But to say hey you cant build there cause it COULD cause us problems is wrong. I would be concerned but like I said, something can be put in place to please all involved.

  • Paul Donovan Oct 29, 2014
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    You can destroy your life worrying that something might happen.

  • notexactly Oct 29, 2014

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    Ur right. but if your well runs dry or collapses then you dig another, deeper well, or tap to a utility line. People have to do it all the time. Wells do sometimes run dry or give problems on their own. I have been on a well all my life, and am glad of it. But if it runs dry, I would most likely try to dig a deeper well or tap to a service.

  • Maurice Pentico Jr. Oct 29, 2014
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    If the State says there is enough water... why question it? Or... dig yourself a deeper well.

  • Eq Videri Oct 29, 2014
    user avatar

    Too funny. All these people moved into the Falls Lake watershed to reap the benefits of most city amenities (jobs, parks, roads, restaurants, shopping, etc.) while avoiding city taxes.

    Guess what: Private wells often run dry, but cities provide water on demand!

    If they want a more reliable water source, they should move into Raleigh proper. Or else live with the consequences of their choice.

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