EPA: Circuit board manufacturer may be source of contaminated wa - WSPA.com

EPA: Circuit board manufacturer may be source of contaminated water

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By Annette Newell

EPA says a former circuit board manufacturer called Circuit Board Assemblers may be a source of water contamination in Wake Forest.

The tainted water in Wake County has a lot of homeowners, including Cathy Novak, fired up.

Novak asked, "Do we get a copy of our results?"

She's among dozens of people who live in Wake Forest, who came to the Stony Hill Baptist Community Center to get answers from the Environmental Protection Agency.

"We're just up the road from one of the sites that is contaminated, and I wanted to find out if our well tests had come back clean," Novak said.

EPA Emergency Coordinator Kenneth Rhame showed Novak and other concerned residents a color-coded map of their neighborhoods.

"The red borders are the ones that we've sampled where we did have detects," Rhame pointed out.

The EPA's map shows where it tested wells for trichloroethylene, also called TCE. The agency found the cancer-causing chemical in 21 Wake Forest water wells.

The EPA believes a toxic plume of the chemical is underground. It confirmed Monday the likely source is a former company called Circuit Board Assemblers, which used to be on South Stony Hill Road in Wake Forest.

"It was a property that did circuit board assembly, and used the solvents as a cleaning agent on circuit boards," Rhame explained.

Though Wake County and the state Department of Environmental Resources first found traces of TCE in a Wake Forest well in 2005, it has taken until this year for the EPA to get involved.

"Knowing that our water's clean is great; but if it's in the groundwater, will our water stay clean? That's our personal concern," Novak said.

Monica and Mark Stonefield weren't as lucky.

"We were told that if we showered we would need to jump in, get wet, lather up, turn the water off, rinse, grab our towel, run out," Monica Stonefield said.

The EPA brought them bottled water and installed a filter.

"Our property value is basically zero at this point," Monical Stonefield said.

Novak added, "I certainly feel for the families that have the very high contamination numbers, and know that those homes were recently built."

The church community center will continue to operate as an emergency response center for the EPA through Friday. It's expecting at least 12 more results from Wake Forest homes Tuesday.

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>>

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