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Upcoming Events

September 9, 1:30PM-5:30PM, Clean Water for NC’s Regional Summit on Impacts of Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Wilson, NC. Advance registration required: register at

New CWFNC Report on Atlantic Coast Pipeline Blast Zones

Aug 15, Raleigh—Groups working closely with residents along the route for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) will speak about the dangers they will face if construction of the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline is allowed to go forward, as a new report from Clean Water for North Carolina is released. Speakers showed enlarged images of “High Consequence Areas” along the proposed route in their counties, and the extent of “blast zones” around them. Hundreds of landowners in the construction corridor, and at least 943 feet from the center of the pipeline, would be at risk of severe damage and injury or death in case of a pipeline leak, explosion or fire.

Hope Taylor of Clean Water for North Carolina presented the context for the report “High Consequence Areas, Blast Zones and Public Safety Along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” including images for a site in Northampton County, and implications for residents all along the pipeline. She and Ericka Faircloth will also talk about High Consequence Areas in Nash, Cumberland and Robeson Counties. Read the full report here.

High Consequence Area in Nash County

Image of blast and evacuation zones around a High Consequence Area in Nashville, Nash County, near where Governor Cooper grew up.

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has sent a formal letter to the North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association regarding the challenges faced by First Responders in the mostly rural counties targeted by the ACP. Significant incidents, including explosions and fires are happening with increasing frequency on pipelines across the US, according to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Therese Vick presented the key concerns in the letter, which is available to read here.

What’s in Your Well? The Importance of Routine Testing!

by Olivia Eskew, Summer Duke Stanback Intern

Olivia Eskew, summer internFor the past 3 months, I have collected interview-based and literature review data on the status of well water quality and testing in North Carolina. My goal was to provide informative and brief outreach materials for each county environmental health department to better inform county residents on their well water quality, and for Clean Water for NC to use in our ongoing outreach efforts!

Did you know the state of North Carolina has the second highest number of individuals, 3.3 million, who rely on well water for their source of drinking water, behind only Pennsylvania? Although most groundwater is safe to drink, there are many sources of potential contamination of groundwater, and no requirement for routine testing! It is important for well users to test their water regularly, yet most wells in North Carolina have never been inspected or tested for more than coliform bacteria.

Common Misconceptions

Click here to learn about common misconceptions regarding well water quality and potential contamination.

Common Contaminants

Common contaminants in NC groundwater include total coliform, arsenic, manganese, sulfur, and lead. Too much of any contaminant – even a naturally-occurring one – can be harmful to human health.

How to Move Forward: What Can You Do?


Wells in North Carolina come in all shapes, sizes, and depths!

A) Call your local environmental health office and ask for the well program, or contact Clean Water for North Carolina if you are unsure of the appropriate point of contact for your area.

  • Get advice from your local well program on local contaminants, and/or explore the NC Source Water Assessment map to identify potential sources of contamination near you.
  • If your well was installed before July 2008, or if it was installed after 2008 but you have reason to believe your well water quality has changed, we recommend a full well panel sampling, inclusive of bacteriological and inorganic tests.

B) Groundwater Protection — Do not put chlorine in your well as part of routine maintenance. This should only be done if the well has been opened or to address bacterial contamination. Do an annual visual assessment of the well head in which the well seal should be airtight. Properly cap abandoned wells; otherwise, they present a safety hazard and a potential source of contamination.

C) Sampling Suggestions

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Water/Wetlands Hearings July 18, 20

The Upcoming “401” Permit Hearings–A Critical Opportunity to Protect NC Waters and Wetlands
(Possibly Even to Stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline)
Comment period goes through August 19th

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Public Hearings on Water Impacts

  • July 18th, Fayetteville, 6:00 pm, Fayetteville Tech Community College, 2201 Hull Road. Cumberland Auditorium. Signup begins at 5:00 pm.
  • July 20th, Rocky Mount, 6:00 pm, Nash Community College, 522 N. Old Carriage Road. Brown Auditorium. Signup begins at 5:00 pm.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) is a proposed highly pressurized natural gas pipeline planned to run through WV, VA, and 8 eastern NC counties. This pipeline is dangerous, expensive, and unneeded – see for more info about the pipeline.

To be approved, the pipeline must be granted a state “401 Water Quality Certification” by the NC Division of Water Resources, with the purpose of protecting NC’s waters and wetlands, and the aquatic and human life that depend on them! After extensive review of large permit files, a collaborative team from several organizations has found major flaws in the draft permit.

Please speak out at one of the hearings above, or submit written comments by August 19, to prevent a permit that would let ACP degrade our resources and put Environmental Justice at risk! You do not have to live in the counties along the pipeline route to participate in this process.

Here are some talking points to give you some ideas for your own comments. Written comments may be sent to: 401 Permitting, 1617 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC, 27699-1617, or emailed to (include “ACP” in the email’s subject line).

GenX, Chemours, and Protecting NC's Drinking Water Supplies

Gen X

Graphic from “The Intercept,” 2016.

Dozens of articles have been written in recent weeks about the discovery of alarming levels of an unregulated contaminant called “GenX” in the Cape Fear River and in the water supply for a quarter of a million North Carolinians downstream. This situation exemplifies the scale of the drinking water crises our state will face in the future, and the need for concerned residents to stand up for better protections at a state and federal level to safeguard our drinking water.

Clean Water for North Carolina hopes you will join us as we continue to push for:

  1. Updates to drinking water standards: GenX is one of dozens of ’emerging contaminants’ that are totally unregulated in tap water. In 1996, amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to require monitoring of unregulated contaminants, but thanks to industry pushback, to date, zero new federal standards have been implemented. As new substances continue to be developed, regulators must establish standards so tap water doesn’t poison communities. We also need fully-funded federal and state agencies to set and enforce these standards!
  2. Health-based notifications of risks: Residents deserve simple, evidence-based advisories when a particular substance is discovered in their water – whether or not it exceeds a regulatory threshold. When a controversial contaminant found in well water near Duke Energy’s coal ash sites led the McCrory administration to back away from health-based warnings last year, CWFNC started fighting to make sure county and state health officials retain the authority to advise folks about the risks of drinking their water based on a 1 in 1 million lifetime risk of developing cancer.
  3. Transparency of water utilities: The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s decision not to reveal contamination to the public right away after the results of a study found GenX in the drinking water has been questioned, and the utility is responding to public pressure to improve future transparency with proposals for a new website, faster public notification and quicker escalation of unusual testing data of drinking water. Transparency is a core value in our work for clean, safe water for all, and a key reason why we support public, locally-controlled drinking water and oppose privatization.
  4. Accountability for polluters who put their own bottom line ahead of human health: We’re appalled that after DuPont was fined more than ten million dollars by the EPA in 2005 for covering up the health effects of C8, they turned around and developed a replacement chemical without thoroughly vetting it. CWFNC advocates the use of the precautionary principle, calling for the polluter to bear the burden of proof that an activity is safe (in this case, DuPont and their spinoff company, Chemours). The use of GenX is an extraordinary failure to follow this principle, and Chemours should be held fully accountable. So should EPA, for agreeing to allow the use of GenX in the first place and allowing Chemours to prevent only 99% – not 100% – of the contaminants from entering the Cape Fear.

Summaries of what we know:
Toxic tap water FAQs (updated daily, Star News Online)
State: GenX No Longer Discharged Into River (Coastal Review, 2017)
Forum on GenX in Local Water Draws 450 People (Star News, 2017)

Perfluorinated chemicals and health:
Chronic exposure limit set for PFOA in drinking water: EPA addresses persistent legacy chemicals linked to health problems. (Chemical & Engineering News, 2016)
A CHEMICAL SHELL GAME: How DuPont Concealed the Dangers of the New Teflon Toxin. (The Intercept, 2016)

Filtration and alternate water supplies:
GenX Contamination In Drinking Water: What You Need To Know (Hydroviv, 2017). Our note: this article is informative, but is published on a filtration company’s website with the goal of selling filters. We are not promoting this or any other brand of filtration system.
No guarantees with bottled water (Letter to the Editor, Wilmington Star News, June 2017)

Agency responses:
GenX disaster: More compelling evidence that incessant GOP budget cuts endanger our well-being (NC Policy Watch, June 2017)
DEQ home page on Gen X investigation (Department of Environmental Quality, 2017)
NC DHHS Health Effects Summary (NC DHHS, June 2017)