FAYETTEVILLE: Cumberland Co. to host meeting about arsenic - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Cumberland Co. to host meeting about arsenic in water

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The Cumberland County Health Department will host an informational meeting for people affected by potentially unsafe water from private wells. The meeting is particularly for people in the Bullard Circle community, just off Ramsey Street north of Fayetteville.

Twenty-seven homes in that area have private wells with arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking water standards.

The public meeting will be held March 20 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Long Hill Elementary School at 6490 Ramsey St.

Cumberland Department of Public Health Director Buck Wilson, Environmental Health staff and representatives from the N.C. Division of Public Health Epidemiology Section will lead the discussion.

Health officials have recommended that the water from those 27 wells not be used for drinking and cooking unless a water treatment system is installed to remove the substance. The water may be used for washing, cleaning, bathing and showering.

Cumberland County Environmental Health Director Daniel Ortiz said some treatment systems may not be able to remove a sufficient amount of arsenic. So some homes may also try to drill a more shallow well in hopes of tapping into a groundwater source with the naturally occurring arsenic.

Ortiz said there may also be opportunities for the homes to connect to a public water system. He said county staff members are looking into the possibility of funding assistance for the connections or the additional well drilling. Those possibilities will be discussed at the meeting he said.

"They'll be able to ask questions, and we'll be able to give them answers as far as their health concerns, what the potential is or correcting the problem," Ortiz said. "We're going to have several subject matter experts to answer these questions."

Citizens should direct their questions to the Health Department at (910) 433-3692 or (910) 433-3688; or to the state Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch at (919) 707-5900.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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