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Water Has Some Wake County Residents Concerned

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WAKE COUNTY — Some residents of the King Grands Subdivision are scared to drink their water because it contains trace amounts of radiation from the rocks underground. The state disagrees and says it is safe.

Two months after struggling with choloform in their water, the Lybeck family faced radiation.

"It just surprised me," says Nancy Lybeck. "I'd never heard of having radiation in the water, and assumed they'd follow up on it quickly.'

The neighborhood water company, Heater Utilities, conducted tests, but residents say the company shut off the flow of information for three months.

The Lybecks switched to bottled water.

Alan Hardy, an environmental engineer with the Division of Environmental Health, makes sure that Heater Utilities sends customers safe water. He says this radiation is natural.

"It is common to see it in this area," he says. "There is some high concentration of radiological contaminants through a certain zone of Wake County [just East of Raleigh]."

Experts say that this amount of radiation is relatively harmless in the short term.

"It's significantly less [radiation] than a chest x-ray," says Bernad Dusenbury, Jr., of North Carolina Radiation Surveillance.

That is some relief for the Lybecks. After a bacteria problem, they are hoping to have drinkable water again soon.

"I sure hope so," says Lybeck. "We pay Heater Utilities good money for potable water."

According to the state, Heater Utilities is trying to insulate their wells from the source of contamination. Test are currently clean, but the radioactive water could still get back in the wells.