CFPUA declines water sample from Wilmington VA clinic - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

CFPUA declines water sample from Wilmington VA clinic

Wilmington VA officials are hoping a recent water test will help the clinic get on track to operating at full capacity. (Source: WECT) Wilmington VA officials are hoping a recent water test will help the clinic get on track to operating at full capacity. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Water samples taken from the Wilmington VA clinic June 19 were not accepted by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority as one of three samples needed to remove a "Do Not Use" notice lifted from the facility.

The CFPUA said the process of requiring three consecutive approve samples will restart with the next set of weekly samples.

Several months ago, the CFPUA issued a "Do Not Use" notice at the Wilmington VA clinic, saying the water could not be consumed until heavy metal contamination in the water was fixed.

As a result of the contamination, the clinic has been forced to cancel or reschedule some appointments for Veterans who sought care from the GI, Urology, and Dental departments. In other cases, patients are being referred to the VA clinic in Fayetteville as an alternative.

A VA spokesperson says they believe it is an internal plumbing issue, stemming from a problem with the pipes inside the VA clinic. The CFPUA says it is not a problem with the external water supply.

The VA leases the Wilmington facility from Summit Smith HealthCare out of Wisconsin. VA officials say, as tenants, they are at the mercy of Summit Smith to fix the problem.

To lift the "Do Not Use" notice, CFPUA requires the water meet EPA standards in three consecutive weekly tests.

The CFPUA issued the following notice to the Wilmington VA Friday:

CFPUA cannot accept the June 19th sample result submittal as your second of the three needed to remove the DO NOT USE Notice for the facility. As a result, our process requiring three consecutive approved samples will restart with the next set of weekly samples.

Having reviewed the results, I have some concern in regards to area B (room 1241) where the levels are in excess of public water supply limits for compliance. It is my position that this room is connected to other faucets in the facility. Having this information supports the belief that if a condition still exists there, and that is a distinct possibility, that potential contaminates can flow downstream as area B is in such close proximity to the entry point to the facility.

I also cannot agree that the Environmental Protection Agency's 90/10 rule governing water distribution systems applies here, as this facility is one closed distribution system. The 90/10 rule is for individual houses that are separated by a distance and fed by different areas of a public water supply.

The samples taken on Friday, June 26 will be concentrated up and down stream of this area to ensure that any potential source of the lead and copper is not progressing further down the line. If the lead and copper levels continue to be above EPA Actions Levels, the condition exposes the water fountains and break area sinks where water is consumed at these excessive levels.

CFPUA remains dedicated to a resolution of this matter and are here to assist your efforts to address the problem.

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