Our phones have been ringing since the publication of our exposé of Wake County North Carolina’s hidden public health crisis – toxic levels of uranium in 10% of private water wells across much of the county (and, quite possibly, in neighboring Piedmont-area counties as well).
Concerned homeowners are taking note, even as public health agencies such as the state’s Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and county Health Departments, maintain a stony public silence. And with too few news organizations picking up the story (the only exception so far being Indy Week), those worried homeowners and renters are telling us they don’t know who to turn to for answers, or what to do next.
Here’s what we recommend.
1. Don’t panic. Your own well might or might not contain hazardous levels of uranium. Testing (see #2, below) will tell you whether you have a problem.
2. Call your county Health Department (contact info here) and ask them to test your well for uranium. If the test result shows that your well has more than 0.03 mg/L of uranium (EPA’s ‘Maximum Contaminant Limit’) ask your health department to recommend a water treatment company for you to work with to correct the problem. You have several treatment options to make your water safe, but you need to talk to the pros to find out what’s right for you. Don’t just call the first company whose advertising catches your eye.
4. Help us get the word out. Call your state senator and state house representative (contact info here) and ask what they’re doing to encourage and empower state health officials at DHHS to meaningfully address this public health threat. If they don’t know what you’re talking about (and odds are they won’t), educate them.
UPDATE (29 Aug 2016): Raleigh News and Observer covered this story on 26 Aug.