About 20 private wells in a Wake Forest neighborhood have been found to be contaminated with a toxic degreasing agent. Kenneth Rhame is a federal on-scene coordinator with the Environmental Protection Agency. He says one home off Stony Hill Road had concentrations of TCE more than 65 times the safe drinking limit.
Rhame says, "That is a concern. Those folks have been advised not to use the water for any purposes. But the majority of the results that we've seen out in this neighborhood aren't that high a concentration. The EPA numbers, health risk thresholds, are typically based on long-term exposure - 20 years - and do have some safety factors plugged into those calculations."
Rhame says the agency is close to identifying the source of the TCE. The chemical can cause cancer and other health problems in sufficient amounts. The EPA is providing bottled water and may provide filtration systems to some houses. Rhame says people with private wells should have their water tested once a year. Investigators are relatively confident the contamination doesn't go much beyond the wells they've already tested, but evidence suggests the contamination has been there for several years.