Carolina Public Press contributor Ted Strong reports that some residents of Arden who get their water from wells are deeply concerned and confused about whether the water flowing through the pipes in their houses is too contaminated to drink.
The state has previously placed “do not drink” orders on the wells and required Duke to provide the owners of the wells with drinking water.
And the standards have been unclear because, as Strong reports, while state officials originally declare 330 wells across the state unsafe based on contaminants including vanadium and hexavalent chromium, state officials changed their minds on 235 of the wells. This after Tom Reader of the Department of Environmental Quality told the legislature that 70 percent of public drinking water systems (including Asheville’s) would not stand up to the same standard.
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Division of Public Health endorsed a call for more clear and comprehensive federal standards for drinking water.
Amid the confusion environmentalist groups are outraged, and Duke maintains they are faithfully abiding by safety standards and following the rules.
Is coal ash to blame for illness? Excerpt:
Jeri Cruz says people and animals in her Buncombe County neighborhood are getting sick at such an alarming rate that she suspects a connection to contaminants found in their well water.
“As I would watch the news I would hear about problems with water for people who lived near the French Broad River, and so, although my backyard is the French Broad River, I will not drink the water,” she said.
Duke’s coal ash storage facility overlooks the river. While the company is in the process of moving that waste away from its unlined pond, concerns continue about the long-term effects of contaminants leaking into the soil and groundwater or running off into the surface water.
Meanwhile, Duke suggests nature, not coal ash, is the source of the substances found in well water.