Local News

Is Your Well Water Safe To Drink?

Posted February 5, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST

— People living in two Wake County neighborhoods are scared to drink their water.

Residents of A Country Place subdivision found out that radiation in their community well system is three times the allowable limit. Residents in the Kings Grant subdivision recently learned their well water contained radiation, too.

The residents found out because companies test community well systems and municipal water plants on a regular basis for a variety of contaminants such as bacteria, nitrates, nitrites and pesticides.

Allen Hardy of thestate Division of Environmental Healthsays if you drill and own a private well, then you are on your own.

"That's really not my specialty, but I do know that some counties require just a bacteria test on the initial startup of the well and no more follow-up testing after that," he says.

If you want your private well water tested, the state says your best bet is to contact your county health department. Most have tests they can run for a fee, but it can get expensive, depending how many screenings you want. The trick is knowing which tests are the most important ones.

Wake County charges $25 for the bacteria test. If you have small children, you may want to also order a $50 heavy metal test that checks for elements like flouride, arsenic and copper.

For another $35, you can test your well water for nitrates, nitrites, and lead, which pose a danger to pregnant women and small children.

The Wake County Health Department says it is probably a good idea to test for bacteria, nitrates, nitrites and lead every year.