Lab runs out of well testing kits a day after Wake County announces 19,000 could be contaminated

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Ben Yarborough and two of his neighbors stood outside of Pace Analytical Tuesday afternoon all asking the same question. “When do you think you’ll get more kits in? “

It’s a question that’s been asked several time Tuesday after the lab ran out of water bottle testing kits two days in row.

“I had two neighbors ride with me and we spoke to another gentleman in front of us in line and they ran out of kits within the first hour this morning and I know the other gentleman was here yesterday and they ran out of kits yesterday as well,” Yarborough explained.

Those kits are in high demand after Wake County announced earlier this week that 19,000 private wells in Eastern Wake County could be contaminated with unsafe levels of Uranium and Radon in their drinking water.

Pace Analytical is the only local water testing site certified by Wake County.  Yarborough was told the earliest to expect a kit was Thursday.

“It just seems like everyone needs to get their water tested on the eastern part of the county,  but it seems that perhaps the labs aren’t prepared for this volume at once to come in and get tested,” he continued.

That’s not the only surprise neighbors were hit with. The price of the testing kits and the cost to install a water system can be expensive.

“I thought it was going to be kind of minimal. I was a little bit shocked that it was about $8,000 and then contacting another company that a neighbor used yesterday I found out that he spent about $15,000 to correct the issues with his well, ” Yarborough said.

Wake County is trying to work with residents who can’t afford to spend that kind of money.

“Low-income residents with income below  2.5 times the federal poverty guidelines will qualify for reduced testing fees through the county. You can get comprehensive testing as low as $73 depending on their income level,” explained Evan Kane, manager of groundwater protection and wells for the county’s department of environmental services.

Kane said they’re also working with non-profits to find solutions for residents who get unfavorable water test results. “It’s taken them by surprise and they’re having to adjust to that and having to figure out what their next steps are to ensure the safety of their water supply.”

Wake County has another community meeting planned for Tuesday in Fuquay-Varina at Hilltop Church from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

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