In a neighborhood close to Piedmont Triad International Airport, residents who use well water have been concerned that their wells are contaminated by chemicals called “PFAS.”
Those are found in, among other things, a firefighting foam that the airport uses regularly.
About four years ago evidence surfaced that the foam had run off into streams and ended up in area water supplies and local wells.
At a Thursday, December 15 meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann informed the board that 108 letters had been sent out to homes that may have been affected. That letter asked the homeowners for permission to test their well water.
This 2022 PFAS monitoring effort is a follow-up of testing that took place about four years ago when Guilford County, the NC Department of Environmental Quality, and the City of Greensboro began addressing contaminants found in the groundwater near the airport. The Department of Environmental Quality and the county have been attempting to assess the extent of the current problem.
Vann said at the meeting that the Guilford County Health Department had been working to make sure those wells were safe and that homeowners had the information they need.
Vann also said that county health officials had met several times with the City of Greensboro and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.
“We started that process and had multiple meetings,” Van told the Board on Thursday, Dec. 15. “We also had a very successful community meeting on November 15 at Guilford College United Methodist Church.”
Vann said about 30 people were there and many others were watching online.
“Everybody was incredibly appreciative of the fact that we’d made this effort to explain to them what the process would look like,” Vann said.
She noted that, at the meeting, many attendees signed a letter of consent allowing the county to test their wells.
According to Vann, the letters had gone out to members of the community offering free well water tests. As of the December 15 commissioners’ meeting, 60 homeowners had signed the letter of consent – and the county had already tested 40 of those wells.
The county’s health director said the results from the new tests would start coming in in mid-January and that the health department is ready to address any issues and take any necessary actions.
Vann told the commissioners that she would likely update them again at a meeting in January.