New Hanover Health Department encourages private well owners do routine well water checks

Updated: May. 10, 2019 at 4:44 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - On Thursday, officials with Cape Fear Public Utility Authority confirmed six of 25 groundwater wells in northern New Hanover County recently tested positive for PFAs. Now, private well owners are wondering if their water is safe.

Phillip Tarte, director of the New Hanover County Health Department, said he encourages residents who are concerned that their private well might be contaminated to get it tested.

“If I had a private well and I was drinking from a private well, I would have it tested for the normal routine regulatory bacteriological sampling, heavy metals, petroleum, if I had a concern," Tarte said. "What we try to do is when we put wells in or when wells are permitted within New Hanover County, those wells are heavily vetted where they are located. The setback limitations, the depth, the casing and they’re tested at that point,” said Tarte, “If someone had a concern and they wanted it tested certainly, I would not stand in their way, I would say do that.”

PFAs are man-made chemicals that have been used worldwide since the 1940s. They’re found in food packaging, cleaners, water-resistant coatings, carpets, electronics, firefighting foams, and other industrial products.

When ingested long-term, health effects include increased risk of cancer, liver damage, low birth weight, thyroid problems, cholesterol issues and more.

The health department has options for private companies that do tests for private wells.

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