Local News

Fearing Contaminated Wells, Residents Push for City Water

Posted July 31, 2007 7:28 p.m. EDT

— Some local homeowners are demanding that Fayetteville officials to extend city water lines to their neighborhood, claiming area well water is contaminated.

Benzene seeped into the groundwater near the intersection of Old Raeford and Rim roads years ago from leaking underground tanks at a former gas station, said Cathy Akroyd, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

But Akroyd said no one has been drinking the contaminated groundwater since 1988, when the leaking tanks were discovered. Since then, neighborhood residents hooked onto two uncontaminated wells in the area, she said.

That hasn't stopped people from buying bottled water or maintaining the tap water has made them sick.

"There's just a funny smell to it," resident Nancy Beissel said of the water coming out of the faucets in her home.

The neighborhood was annexed by Fayetteville two years ago, but the city hasn't yet extended water lines to residents.

"Why did they annex us out here if we don't get water and sewage? You still have to pay taxes, and that's not right," Beissel said.

Neighbor Eric Hendricks said getting city water to the area is a matter of public health and safety.

"The city needs to bring water to the people and to finally safeguard the people, the taxpayers," Hendricks said.

The Public Works Commission in Fayetteville is ready to run water lines to 11 homes with contaminated wells. The project costs $175,000, but it’s unclear how the city would fund it.

City Manager Dale Iman was briefed on the issue Monday, and he said the City Council plans to address it at its Aug. 13 meeting.

Carolyn Justice-Hinson of PWC said the water line should be in place in less than a year, and it could also serve other nearby residents.

But residents said they want the underground pollution gone as well. DENR has continued to monitor wells in the area to make sure the pollution doesn't expand.

"The hot potato is who's going to clean it up? Who's going to save the people? Who's going to be the hero for the day?" Hendricks said.