Testing your well for contamination

This article was first published on WNCN

By Charlotte Huffman 

To find out if you live near a known contaminated site check the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Inactive Hazardous Sites Inventory. 

You can review the list of contaminated addresses in North Carolina by name or by county. 

If you want to have your well tested, the EPA will not come test your well unless it has a reason to believe the water in the neighborhood is contaminated. 

The safest approach is to have water tested yourself. Be sure to ask for a VOC (volatile organic compounds) test, which will cost about $100. 

Two places that are known to test for VOCs are below. The county says you can expect results in three-to-four weeks; the private sector may respond faster. 

* Wake Co. Dept. of Environmental Services

Address:336 Fayetteville St.,Raleigh

Times: Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m. 

Phone: (919)856-7400 

* Enco Laboratories Inc. in Cary

Note: EPA recommends this company 

Address: 102 Woodwinds Industrial Court, Cary, NC, 27511 

Phone: (919) 467-3090 

Joe Beaman, with Highlands Environmental Solutions, offered the following warning sign that your well may be contaminated: 

1. Your water has a chemical odor or taste. Stop drinking the water immediately. 

2. The water exhibits a foul odor or "rotten egg" odor. 

3. You're frequently replacing plastic parts to sinks and commodes. Certain chemicals are solvents and can degrade components made of plastic and rubber. 

4. The color or other appearance of the water changes. 

5. The water begins to leave stains in sinks and commodes. This may be due to natural conditions (ie, high iron), but may be due to other contaminants. 

6. You experience any new or unusual health issues. 

7. You have concerns about nearby industrial areas or agri-business.