The Guilford County Health Department is getting ready to conduct more water tests to make certain that well water in areas of western Greensboro is safe.
The latest round of testing follows well water tests conducted late last year to assure the quality of that water after there were concerns about unacceptable amounts of the contaminant PFOS and related chemicals in the City of Greensboro’s water supply.
Guilford County Health Director Merle Green said this week that the upcoming well water tests are precautionary. She said the last round of testing came back with acceptable results for the county’s well water, but she added that county and state health officials want to make sure that those wells also test well under the different conditions that come with spring as opposed to winter.
“When you test something in one season you sometimes need to test it again later,” Green said. “Were going to do it again in spring when fresh water is coming in and it’s not as cold.”
In December, inspectors from the Guilford County Health Department drew well water from neighborhoods near the intersection of Fleming Road and Bryan Boulevard, as well as in the Horse Pen Creek Road area of Greensboro.
The tests in December were the result of the well-publicized contamination issue in the city’s water supply last year. Traces of PFOS, along with related industrial chemicals, were found in the city’s water system, so the Guilford County Health Department began implementing a multistage plan to address well water quality concerns in some areas where contamination was considered a possibility. There was concern that streams in the tested area were feeding pollutants into the city’s water system – which could have been the reason the city has seen problems with PFOS – pollutants that medical studies have associated with decreased fertility, low birth weights, liver damage and certain cancers.
The Health Department got the results of those first test back earlier this year after it assisted the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) with tests of about 40 wells in the areas of concern. According to information provided by the Health Department, those lab results came back “well below the suggested threshold limit” for all samples. Only three of the 40 showed any “measurable” levels of PFOS. An additional six wells showed “a small trace that was too small to accurately measure.”
Now, the Health Department and NC DEQ will take new samples of the nine wells that had shown any presence of PFOS. The date of those spring tests haven’t been scheduled yet.
Green said that, throughout the process, there’s been very good communication between citizens and the city, county and state officials addressing the issue. She said a community meeting held in December to inform residents of potential issues – as well as to answer questions and get input – went very well.
“The members of the community were very appreciative of the presentation,” Green said, adding that they were pleased by the actions being taken by the city, the county and the state to assure local water quality.
Green said citizens applauded at the end of that meeting.