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Nov. 20, 10-2PM, NC Environmental Justice and Equity Board meeting, agenda TBA, Walnut Creek Wetland Center, Raleigh

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Well water in the news

Study Points to Risks In NC Wells from Nature, Not Coal Ash (NC Health News, October 2016) – It’s only been since 2008 that North Carolina has required the testing of only new drinking water wells. A long list of potential troublemakers must be measured in the water, including coliform bacteria, arsenic, barium, lead, iron, manganese, mercury, nitrate and selenium. The standards require testing for totals of all chromium compounds, but do not require specific testing for hexavalent chromium. “It is a basic test including common metals, nutrients and bacteria, but does not include the many other pesticides, industrial chemicals and other compounds that can be problems when wells are in proximity to a source of contamination,” said Katie Hicks, assistant director of Clean Water for North Carolina.

Hope Taylor: Federal drinking water standards don’t protect citizens — but Rudo has (Winston-Salem Journal, August 2016) – Tom Reeder, the assistant secretary for the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, and Randall Williams, the health director of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, simply don’t have the expertise to tell well-users that their well water, contaminated by chemicals that don’t even have federal limits, is safe to drink, but they have done so — repeatedly and aggressively — for several months.

Bill would gag health officials about contaminated wells (Carolina Public Press, May 2016) – The bill would “cripple public health officials in their duty to” protect people from contamination in their water supplies, Katie Hicks, associate director of Clean Water for North Carolina, told CPP. Hicks said there is a “huge backlog of contaminants that are totally unregulated” that the state would be unable to warn people about if the law passes.

Bill raises safety threshold for North Carolina’s bad-water notices (Charlotte Observer, April 2016) – The advocacy group Clean Water for North Carolina says the bill would gut the public notices that state health officials have issued for decades. “This bill was carefully crafted to essentially take away any tool to provide health-based notifications,” said executive director Hope Taylor.

Confusion and Fear in North Carolina As State Ends Drinking Water Safety Warning (DeSmog Blog, March 2016) – Now residents are learning that the “do not drink” orders placed on their well water supplies have been lifted by state officials. That decision has provoked fear and confusion among residents and some experts about the safety of their water supply. “This news makes me feel like we’re not getting anywhere,” said Brown, before her voice wavered with emotion.