• Our Policy Wishlist for Private Well Users in 2022!

    Direct advocacy with communities on the ground for safe water and clean air is just one part of our Environmental Justice work! Policy development is a key aspect to ensure meaningful, sustainable change. We are excited to share our Well User Protection policy recommendations with our membership & NC legislators in 2022! Support Our Work Today Almost one third of North Carolinians rely on private wells for their drinking water - a source that is not protected under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. In partnership with UNC-Chapel Hill and the statewide Well Water Working Group, our team at CWFNC has developed two policy recommendations that we will be publishing in 2022 with the goal of raising support for these protections on the state level. Increased Funding for Private Well Tests Cost can be a major barrier for regular testing of private wells, particularly for low-income households. We believe this obstacle can be addressed by the Bernard Allen Fund, created in 2006 to improve the state’s response to private well water contamination and provide low-income households with a safe drinking water supply. Recommendations for the Fund include increasing funding available, providing a public application, increasing the household income limit or providing a sliding scale, and further addressing testing of naturally-occurring contaminants to better address threats to safe drinking water for well users. Requiring Well Testing Before a Real Estate Transaction A safe drinking water supply is essential to human health as well as protecting the value of residential property. If a real estate transfer is finalized before the property owner or renter discovers that the groundwater is contaminated, there may be limited options to remediate the issue. CWFNC believes that adequate testing is essential to due diligence prior to the purchase or rental of any property supplied by a private drinking water well, and is exploring policy initiatives in other states to help develop a similar policy recommendation here in NC. Thank you to all our new and recurring members for sustaining our Well User Protection policy work in 2021! We look forward to sharing more of this work and with you into the New Year! If you haven't given yet, consider donating to Clean Water for NC today and receive a tax deduction before the end of the year! Support Our Work Today


    Continue reading
  • Is your well water safe to drink? New resource from UNC-Chapel Hill, partners can help you decide

    Is your well water safe to drink? New resource from UNC-Chapel Hill, partners can help you decide Story by: Andrew George, Community Engagement Coordinator | UNC Institute for the Environment Press contact: Emily Williams, Director of Community and University Relations | UNC Institute for the Environment,  emilywilliams@unc.edu, (919) 962-0965 People who rely on private well water in North Carolina have a better chance of learning whether their well water is safe to drink thanks to an initiative of the UNC School of Law Well Water Pro Bono Project, the UNC Superfund Research Program (UNC SRP), the environmental non-profit Clean Water for North Carolina (CWFNC), NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), Division of Public Health, Private Well and Health Program, and the NC Real Estate Commission. The team is engaged in a collaborative effort to provide North Carolinians with information they need to assess the safety of their well water. In October 2021, law students partnered with the NC Real Estate Commission to publish a brochure describing common well water contaminants, how to test for them, and resources for removing them when present. With UNC SRP and CWFNC, the team designed the brochure to inform realtors, property owners, and home buyers about the need for regular well testing as well as how to test well water and opportunities to reduce the cost of testing. An estimated 2.5 million people in NC rely on private wells for their drinking water. Although the state has the fifth largest population of well users in the country, drinking water from private wells is not regulated by state or federal agencies. As a result, most well water is not tested. Many contaminants cannot be tasted, smelled, or seen, making well testing the only way to know if contaminants are present and vital to protecting health or property. “North Carolina does not require real estate transactions to include a well water test, unless there is a known contaminant that the seller has a duty to disclose,” says Professor Maria Savasta-Kennedy, the author of North Carolina’s Environmental Law Practice Guide, who teaches environmental law and environmental justice at UNC School of Law. “Neither the federal Safe Drinking Water Act nor other federal or state regulation governs what is in your well water and how safe it is to drink.” Savasta-Kennedy supervises the Well Water Pro Bono Project, along with Cathy Cralle Jones, senior litigator with the Law Offices of F. Bryan Brice Jr. in Raleigh, who first brought the project to the law school. “The North Carolina Real Estate Commission is thrilled to be involved in bringing these much-needed resources to consumers,” said Charlie Moody, assistant director for the Regulatory Affairs Division of the NC Real Estate Commission. “Additionally, these materials will assist real estate brokers in educating their clients about the importance of well water testing.” When a new well is constructed in North Carolina, the local health department is required to conduct an initial test for a limited number of contaminants (N.C. Gen. Stat. 87-97), but ongoing testing is not required. Additionally, testing is not required for any wells installed prior to 2008. Radon, a prevalent, naturally occurring contaminant in the state, and emerging contaminants such as PFAS and GenX are not included on the list of contaminants that must be tested. “This effort to increase well water testing during real estate transactions complements our ongoing work to support private well users with cutting edge science and potential solutions when contamination is found,” said Rebecca Fry, director of the UNC SRP. “With our community partners, we will continue to incorporate the best science into policy dialogues, so private well users can feel confident making decisions about their drinking water to protect their families and communities.” The next steps include sharing this information broadly, and CWFNC is positioned to take on some of that work. According to Rachel Velez, CWFNC’s Water Justice program director, “absent state and federal regulations for private wells, we are excited to explore creative solutions for protecting well users. We look forward to engaging our statewide membership to better understand the obstacles rural and low-income private well users face when trying to provide a safe drinking water source for their households.” If you are a private well user and would like more information about this effort and research projects to improve drinking water in NC, please visit the UNC Superfund Research Project web page: https://sph.unc.edu/superfund-pages/cec/.  For more information about Well Water Pro Bono Project at UNC School of Law, please visit https://law.unc.edu/news/2021/10/well-water-testing-pro-bono-project/.


    Continue reading
  • Private Well User? Take the Survey to Help Us Help YOU!

    Clean Water for NC is excited to get back on the ground and work to strengthen protections for our state’s 3 million+ well users To help us better understand community needs and concerns, we are inviting all individuals who rely on a private well for their drinking water source to participate in the survey below! The anonymous survey is divided into 2 sections: 1. Your well testing history 2. Potential barriers to testing your well TAKE THE WELL USER SURVEY! **All responses are anonymous and will only be shared with CWFNC staff to better inform their Well User Protection campaign…


    Continue reading
  • Testing Before Real Estate Transfers to Protect Private Well Users!

    It is estimated that over 3 million North Carolinians use private wells for their drinking water, and NC has the fourth highest number of private well users in the country. While there is no statewide database tracking the annual number of real estate transfers in NC, it would not be a stretch to state that tens of thousands of properties are bought or leased annually without the buyer or lessee having any information on the quality of their property’s private well. Because North Carolina law only mandates the testing of private wells that were drilled after…


    Continue reading
  • Wake County notifying thousands about possibly unsafe drinking water in private wells

    By: Anna Johnson, Raleigh News & Observer June 24, 2019 Wake County is notifying thousands of households on private wells that their drinking water may have unhealthy levels of radiological chemicals like uranium and radon. An estimated one in five private wells in eastern Wake County may exceed safe drinking-water standards for some chemicals, officials said at a Monday news conference. They plan to notify 19,000 property owners by mail starting this week. People don’t need to panic, said Evan Kane, the county’s groundwater protection…


    Continue reading