New well water testing bill follows WNCN investigation - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

New well water testing bill follows WNCN investigation

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A new bill emphasizing the importance of testing private water wells was introduced in the North Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday as a result of WNCN's multi-part investigation "Poison in the Water."

The Private Well Water Education Act (H.B. 396) was introduced by state representatives Rick Catlin (R-New Hanover), Tim Moffitt (R-Buncombe), Chris Millis (R-Pender) and Mark Hollo (R-Alexander) at the request of N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla.

Read the Private Well Water Education Act.

There are existing federal and state laws governing public wells but that's not the case for private wells. The Private Well Water Education Act directs the Commission for Public Health to adopt rules governing the testing of private wells and the reporting of their results.

If passed, well owners across the state would see changes.

The bill requires local health departments to provide information to citizens constructing new drinking water wells regarding drinking water standards and the availability, scope and limitations of required and optional testing.

Many well owners are unaware of the fact that the current and standard well test is very basic and only checks for contaminants like bacteria.

The bill also directs the Commission for Public Health to develop rules that would require residents who attempt to drill wells near contamination sites to complete more extensive testing.

"You prompted this. This was driven by you and Governor McCrory. You came to me a month ago and suggested we had a groundwater contamination issue with private wells. I not only thanked you for bringing to it to our attention but I acknowledged we had a problem and I told you we'd do something about it. Now we've done something about it and we're continuing to do something about it. This isn't the end but it's a very strong beginning," Secretary Skvarla told WNCN Investigative Reporter, Charlotte Huffman.

Huffman's "Poison in the Water" investigation uncovered the source of contamination in a Wake Forest community and exposed how state government failed to warn families that the water they were drinking could be killing them.

In July 2012, Wake Forest families learned they had been drinking a cancer-causing chemical for years. WNCN obtained internal government e-mails through a Freedom of Information request and revealed how state regulators knew about the contamination in 2005 but ignored their own evidence of the danger.  

Approximately 25 percent of North Carolina residents get their water from private well and there are thousands of known contamination sites across North Carolina where residents could be drinking dangerous chemicals.

The Private Well Water Education Act aims to stop situations like the one in Wake Forest from happening again.

"This bill addresses that issue in the sense that every new well has to be tested to a higher level. So, its not going to be an after the fact discovery. This is going to be a before the fact discovery."

The bill is expected to go to the house floor in the next few weeks.

Representative Rick Catlin tells WNCN he expects the bill to be easy to pass because it focuses on educating the public.

Charlotte Huffman

An award-winning journalist with an investigative edge, Charlotte has driven legislative change with reports on workplace safety concerns and contaminated groundwater. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

Poison in the Water

There are at least 2,000 sites statewide where DENR knows there is TCE contamination that is likely spreading into the water of unsuspecting families. More>>

  • PoliticsMore>>

  • NC flags lowered on day of Fulghum service

    NC flags lowered on day of Fulghum service

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:11 AM EDT2014-07-23 09:11:02 GMT
    A first-term North Carolina legislator who died last weekend will be formally remembered within state government and at the church he attended for decades.
    A first-term North Carolina legislator who died last weekend will be formally remembered within state government and at the church he attended for decades.
  • NC counties see sales tax changes in Senate bill

    NC counties see sales tax changes in Senate bill

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:46:55 GMT
    File PhotoFile Photo
    Four large North Carolina counties would see their authority to raise sales taxes scaled back in Senate legislation that its Republican supporters say would level the playing field across the state in generating revenue.
    Four large North Carolina counties would see their authority to raise sales taxes scaled back in Senate legislation that its Republican supporters say would level the playing field across the state in generating revenue.
  • State: Ex-Tarboro town manager used funds inappropriately

    State: Ex-Tarboro town manager used funds inappropriately

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:10 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:10:06 GMT

    The state auditor’s report determined that the former town manager “made nearly $366,000 of purchases" that were inappropriate.

    The state auditor’s report determined that the former town manager “made nearly $366,000 of purchases" that were inappropriate.

  • Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Floydfest attracts people from all walks of life

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:26 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:26:58 GMT
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."
    FloydFest 13 kicked off on Wednesday. Thousands of people from different walks of life will attend various events. Some come to the music festival to escape the monotony of everyday living."

  • Transformation plan underway for troubled Roanoke neighborhoods

    Transformation plan underway for troubled Roanoke neighborhoods

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:44:27 GMT
    Roanoke (WSLS) - The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority will unveil it's plan to transform one of the most troubled sections of the city at an event tonight.
    Roanoke (WSLS) - The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority will unveil it's plan to transform one of the most troubled sections of the city at an event tonight.
  • Air Algerie plane disappears from radar

    Air Algerie plane disappears from radar

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:42 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:42:29 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    Authorities say a flight operated by Air Algerie carrying 110 passengers and a crew of six has disappeared from the radar on a flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    77-year-old questioned, defended as true Marine after NFL player takes his photo

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-22 17:58:35 GMT
    (WMC) - It was a story that made its rounds on social media. On a recent flight DeAngelo Williams, Mid-Southerner and running back for the Carolina Panthers, gave his first-class plane seat to a 77-year-old
    Family members are upset and hurt that their relative, James Wesley Bolden, is being called a liar and "a fake."
  • Durham police release video of 3 teens who left homemade bomb on bus

    Durham police release video of 3 teens who left homemade bomb on bus

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:03 PM EDT2014-07-24 00:03:17 GMT
    Police tape surrounds a Bull City Connector bus after a homemade chemical bomb exploded on board.Police tape surrounds a Bull City Connector bus after a homemade chemical bomb exploded on board.
    Durham police said Wednesday that three teens getting off a Bull City Connector bus left a drink bottle that exploded around 9:35 p.m. Tuesday.
    Durham police said Wednesday that three teens getting off a Bull City Connector bus left a drink bottle that exploded around 9:35 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.