Questions arise after Wake County residents learn of water contaminants

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Jamie Pursley has lived in home Quail Covey Lane for about 10 years and he’s never had his well water tested, until now. 

Pursley learned his well and about 19,000 others in Eastern Wake County could have high levels of Uranium, Radium, and Radon in it. 

“So you keep hearing scary terms like radon, uranium, etc. what does that really mean in terms of health,” he asked.

Wake County Leaders in a press conference Monday tried to answer those questions.  They said these chemicals if left untreated could mean a higher risk of certain cancers and kidney toxicity.

“I have a nine-year-old. So, maybe certain things my body would be okay with that a growing body wouldn’t. So there’s family safety and health,” Pursley continued.

In his neighborhood several homeowners already had their wells tested and they contained those chemical elements like Uranium. 

Other wells in the neighborhood did not. The only way to find out if your well is affected is through testing.

David Blackburn had testing last year, and now wonders if he should go for a second opinion.

“I was really concerned. I just saw it on TV. So, I’m glad we’ve already had ours tested but, maybe we need to get it tested again,” said Blackburn.

Evan Kane, manager of groundwater protection and wells for the county’s department of environmental services, says there are about 20,000 wells in the “vulnerable area.”

“We’ve found that uranium and some related elements are the most common chemical contaminants in Wake County water,” he said. “We’re trying to increase awareness among well users about the prevalence of these contaminants.”

He said about 4,000 wells “may exceed the standard for uranium.” He also said about 6,000 “may exceed the guidance level for radon.”

“The rock in eastern Wake County is naturally enriched in uranium, and that uranium and its breakdown products can leach into the groundwater,” he said. “Very few people have actually gotten their well water tested to determine whether they have these contaminants in their water.”

The county kicked off and education outreach in the county on Monday to inform residents about the safety risks and what they need to do to get their wells tested.

They are also hosting a series of community meetings. The first is Monday night at New Bethel Baptist Church in Rolesville. 

You can also find more information at WakeGov.com / wells.  It includes an interactive map so residents can enter their address and find out if they are in an affected area.

There’s also a dedicated 24-hour bilingual hotline at (919) 893-WELL.

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