Long road ahead for contaminated water cleanup in Wake Forest
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WAKE FOREST—Health experts say there is no quick fix to clean up contaminated water found in a Wake Forest neighborhood.
Twenty-one homes have tested positive for a degreasing compound known as TCE. Experts say the source came from a manufacturing operation that's no longer in the neighborhood now residents are paying the price.
Halloween decorations outside of homes in Wake Forest pale in comparison to the real life terror that is haunting residents.
“I was terrified, I have two small children, they play in the yard. Obviously they drink the water,” said resident Karen Weathers.
The Environmental Protection Agency has become the newest resident off of Stony Hill Road as they work with the county and state to clean up contaminated water.
“We are dealing with a dynamic and very complex issue, there is no short term corrective action plan,” said Joseph Threadcraft with the Wake County Environmental Services.
The EPA said 21 homes have tested positive for TCE,14 of them exceeding maximum levels. Weathers' home did not test positive. However homes one lot over and down the road did.
“I just would like to have straight answers, know exactly what we're dealing with, how we might handle it, where do we go tomorrow,” said Weathers.
The EPA said it was first notified about the compound back in 2005 but thought it was an isolated case. It was sent to the division of waste management with more than 2,000 other cases.
“We have to make decisions how we deploy our resources and that was our decision during that time,” says Jim Bateson with the Division of Waste Management.
The EPA has installed a carbon filtration system. There is also a possibility that the homes could be listed on its national priorities list and could be declared a federal superfund site but that could take years.
It is little comfort for residents as they move ahead.
“It's a financial issue as well as a health issue so there are some deep concerns in the neighborhood about what we might need to do,” said Weathers said.
The EPA said there is not enough information to say whether or not contaminated water that was found nearby in the Mangum Estates community is connected to Stony Hill Road.
At this point in time, nine homes there have tested positive for TCE.