October 1, 2004
Charlotte, NC - In an effort to protect residents from drinking potentially unhealthy water, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners is considering adoption of new regulations for wells. Before considering adoption, the Board will conduct a public hearing at its first October regular meeting, giving citizens an opportunity to learn more and comment.
- Tuesday, October 5, 2004
- 6 p.m.
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center
- 600 East Fourth Street, Charlotte
The Mecklenburg County Health Department is recommending the new regulations. They would guide the placement, construction and repairs of private and public wells and require the proper abandonment of wells no longer in use. "The well regulations are necessary to protect people and the environment from the health risks presented by contaminated groundwater," said Dr. Wynn Mabry, interim director of the Health Department.
The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners also serves as the County's Board of Health. If adopted, the regulations will become effective January 1, 2005.
Groundwater is water that is found underground. The water fills spaces in soil, much like water fills a sponge and it flows into the cracks that are in the rocks. An estimated 20 percent of Mecklenburg County residents use groundwater as their primary drinking water source. In the past five years, about a quarter of the sampled wells tested positive for bacterial contamination. There have also been more than 1,100 groundwater contamination sites identified since 1996. The regulations will require more stringent monitoring of areas around known contaminated sites.
The new health regulations will work in conjunction with an expanding, fee-funded groundwater program to protect groundwater as a safe drinking water source. Some of the most significant changes with the regulations and comprehensive groundwater program include:
- Holding new wells to a construction standard.
- Calling for water supply wells no longer in use to be secured or abandoned.
- Requiring registration of wells serving neighborhoods, schools, daycares, restaurants and service stations.
- Regulating the distance and construction of new wells near groundwater contamination sites.
- Requiring connection to a public water supply or a treatment system when contamination of a drinking water well occurs.
- Making registration mandatory for all well drillers and pump installers.
Citizens with questions about the proposed groundwater regulations can call 704-336-5500 or check the Web site
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