Well water testing triples for state lab - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

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Well water testing triples for state lab


Since NBC-17 first broke news of an investigation into toxic water in Wake Forest, the State Laboratory of Public Health has tripled the amount of samples it is testing for chemicals like TCE.

"We aren't finding something in all of those samples but a lot of people are hearing about it and wanting to have their water tested, which is a good thing," said Norman Goode, organics unit supervisor for the State Laboratory of Public Health.

The State Laboratory of Public Health (SLPH) operates under the Division of Public Health in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The SLPH makes the sampling kits that counties across the state use to take water samples. The counties send the samples back to the state lab for analysis.

Goode says the sampling kits are currently in high demand.

"Wake County is asking for so many right now we can barely keep up with them, let alone all of the other 99 counties in North Carolina. They're taxing the limit right now," he said.

Trichloroethylene or TCE is a carcinogen and can cause cancer, coma and even death.

An NBC-17 Investigation, "Poison in the Water," revealed that in 2002, TCE was dumped from a building on Stony Hill Road. DENR was alerted about the contamination in 2005, and nearly seven years later, in June 2012, the EPA confirmed TCE had spread to the private water wells of 21 families.

Goode says the SLPH will be better suited to handle the increase in demand for testing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which identifies toxins like TCE, in the state's new $53 million lab off Blue Ridge Road.

The SLPH is operating out of the Bath building on N. Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh but a DHHS spokesperson says the facility lacks the space and equipment to meet current needs.

SLPH designated a specific laboratory space in the new facility to handle testing for volatile organic compounds in new wells, which is an expansion of testing services. 

The SLPH is expected to complete its move into the new 222,000 square-foot facility by mid-February 2013. The building will also be home to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, currently located in Chapel Hill.

DPH has the authority to charge fees to cover the cost of new well testing as required by the Commission for Public Health.


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>>

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