And it appears officials have been actively concealing the problem:
According to the test results which the lab technician entered at her computer (Supplemental Figure 1), the backyard well which quenched the thirst of the family on Raleigh’s Stillmeadow Road contained more than ten times the maximum uranium level allowable under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
When Wake County officials reached out to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in 2014 seeking its help with this increasingly obvious threat, they were "advised" by DHHS officials to "consider the can of worms you’re opening up," according to a past county health official interviewed for this report on condition of anonymity.
That idiotic "can of worms" statement might as well have come directly out of Aldona Wos's mouth. Negligence by DHHS aside, the County should have informed not only those affected, but the general public, as well. And (of course) the Hometicks are right up in the middle of this cover-up:
The county was, at that time, dealing with a real estate developer's complaint that its uranium testing program had made it difficult for the company to sell some of its new homes, which had tested above the EPA’s uranium limit.
That developer (Lefrancois Construction, according to our source), did not respond to repeated invitations to comment for this report. State and county records show that between 2013 and 2015 Lefrancois sold three new homes in the small Aventon Glen Drive development, two miles southeast of Rolesville. Two of those homes’ wells posted pre-sale uranium test results 32 and 19 times the EPA’s limit.
This story has Erin Brockovich written all over it. Not that we need another embarrassing national exposé, but those people with Uranium-tainted well water need some advocacy, which apparently isn't coming from their elected officials. It damned sure isn't coming from the GOP-led Legislature, who have exacerbated the problem by shifting costs which promote privatization:
In 2014, the Republican-controlled state legislature authorized a 35% increase in the state lab's well water testing fees following years of slashing state appropriations to the lab's parent agency, the Division of Public Health. In effect, the state had 'shoved down' this cost of public health surveillance onto the counties, sending many in search of less costly alternatives. "A growing number of counties are analyzing their water samples at private labs," confirmed Wilson Mize of the Division of Public Health.
That emerging privatization trend comes at a subtle but serious risk to the state's citizens, by creating a barrier to public health surveillance for problems like today's uranium hazard. Unlike the state lab’s test data, which are readily available on the web to citizens and state officials alike, private labs' test results are invisible to the public and to state health officials. Our analysis of Wake County well tests ends at mid-2015 because county health officials have not fulfilled our public records request (submitted on June 10th) for its more recent uranium test data.
This report needs to be shared far and wide, so the danger these folks have been exposed to doesn't disappear in the news cycle.