Wake Forest residents fear toxic vapors from contaminated wells - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

WNCN Investigates

Wake Forest residents fear toxic vapors from contaminated wells

Posted:
WAKE FOREST, N.C. -

Wake Forest neighbors worry a cancer-causing chemical found in their private water wells could be in the air they breathe.

"We are getting clean water in January, so I'm like, I can breathe now. I feel a little bit better about my situation," said homeowner Tammy Alexander.

Alexander's well is contaminated with TCE, but the EPA expects to begin construction in December to connect Alexander and her neighbors to clean water from a nearby community well.

Now, Alexander fears toxic vapors could be another health hazard her family may have to deal with.  

"It was last Wednesday EPA and DENR came knocking on my door saying, 'The air you're breathing in your house could possibly be contaminated.' I mean, I literally wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. That's honestly how I felt," Alexander said.

Wednesday, engineers from the EPA and North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources tested several properties in the Stonewalls neighborhood for toxic vapors. Engineers are in the process of taking samples from the air below 22 homes.

Two weeks ago, the DENR tested 14 properties for below ground vapors. Three properties tested positive for toxic vapors, one of which is an empty lot.

"This round of testing is just an abundance of caution. We want to be very conservative, very cautious and while we are out here, [test] everyone that we can. There isn't an expectation that we will find [TCE], but it is possible and we want to be very careful and very cautious," said DENR spokeswoman Cathy Akroyd.

Akroyd says TCE in the groundwater can evaporate and travel through the spaces between the soil particles.

EPA toxicologists say if high concentrations of TCE vapors get trapped inside a confined space, like a home, it can be deadly.

Engineers drilled a hole inside Alexander's basement and inserted a tube to collect the air sample.

"I'm hoping and praying that if this is clean, we can breathe a little bit better and I think we will be fine in the long run, but I just don't know that yet," Alexander said.

The vapor samples taken on Wednesday will be sent to a state and federally certified lab in Tennessee. Test results are expected in early December.

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.

TCE can cause cancer, coma and even death.

 

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>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Shooting at Waters Ave. and 38th Street in Savannah

    Shooting at Waters Ave. and 38th Street in Savannah

    Sunday, April 20 2014 1:43 PM EDT2014-04-20 17:43:34 GMT
    Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police have the area of Waters Ave and 38th Street cornered off with crime scene tape. Around 12:45 p.m. police were called to the scene where they found a man in the street shot. The SCMPD Spokesman, Julian Miller, said the victim was in a white sedan when shots were fired from another car striking him. The white sedan came to a stop in a yard. The man was taken to the hospital. The victim's name has not been released yet or his condition. Police do not have a...
    Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police have the area of Waters Ave and 38th Street cornered off with crime scene tape. Around 12:45 p.m. police were called to the scene where they found a man in the street shot. The SCMPD Spokesman, Julian Miller, said the victim was in a white sedan when shots were fired from another car striking him. The white sedan came to a stop in a yard. The man was taken to the hospital. The victim's name has not been released yet or his condition. Police do not have a...
  • April Mugshots

    April Mugshots

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-04-15 15:48:25 GMT
    James SiebenthalJames Siebenthal
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.
    The following are mugshots and charges of individuals arrested between April 1-4 by the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office.
  • SURVELLIANCE VIDEO: Runaway Horse in Downtown Savannah

    SURVELLIANCE VIDEO: Runaway Horse in Downtown Savannah

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:08 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:08:52 GMT
    WSAV has learned that a horse carriage was involved in an accident in downtown Savannah on Monday. A viewer tells News 3 that the horse went 'berserk' after the accident. Savannah Police have closed
    WSAV has learned that a horse carriage was involved in an accident in downtown Savannah on Monday.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

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