Wake County leaders to address concerns over uranium, radon in private well water

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On Monday, Wake County leaders will discuss groundwater contaminants that impact 19,000 private well owners and users.

The contaminants are naturally-occurring and found in the eastern half of the county.

It was announced earlier this month that the county would be sending notices to thousands of owners of private wells urging them to get testing done for various contanminants that could have potential health impacts.

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.”

He said prolonged exposure to “these elements carries an increased risk of certain types of cancers, and with uranium, in particular, carries the risk of kidney toxicity,” he said. “While finding a problem with your well water can be scary, nearly all the problems you could encounter are fixable in some way.”

The contamination is treatable. Once you know how much of a contaminant is present in your water, Kane said the next step is determining which solution best fits your budget and lifestyle. Some options include installing a reverse osmosis water treatment system, a more sophisticated water treatment system, or just drinking bottled water.

Kane recommends testing your water only through a certified lab. If the cost of testing is too high, the county is providing help to those that fall below the poverty line. The price will be reduced to $73.

If you would like more information, the County is holding three information sessions. The first is Monday night at New Bethel Baptist Church in Rolesville from 6-8 pm. The second is Tuesday, June 25th at Hilltop Church in Fuquay Varina from 6-8 pm. The third is Wednesday, June 26th in Zebulon at the Eastern Regional Center from 6-8 pm.

For more information from Wake County, visit the website here. 

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