Fluoride Action Network

Spring Hope: Towns’ water susceptible to contamination

Source: The Enterprise | July 31st, 2019 | By Lindell J. Kay
Industry type: Aluminum Industry

Spring Hope, Bailey and Middlesex received no violations in recent annual state-issued water reports, but seven of the 10 wells supplying water to the towns were listed as being highly susceptible to potential contamination.

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources conducts yearly assessments of all drinking water sources across the state, listing all sources of water and rating the susceptibility of all wells to potential contaminant sources.

“It is important to understand that a susceptibility rating of ‘Higher’ does not imply poor water quality, only the system’s potential to become contaminated by potential contaminant sources in the assessment area,” according to the Source Water Assessment Program reports, which indicated all samples were taken in April 2017.

Spring Hope draws its potable water from groundwater in four wells inside the town’s limits. Well No. 4 at the elementary school is rated Higher. Well No. 6 is rated Moderate. Well No. 1 at Ash Street is rated Higher. And Well No. 2 at Montgomery Street is rated Higher.

Bailey’s water supply is pumped from the Bedrock Aquifer to two deep wells located in the north and northwest potions of town. Well No. 1 is rated Moderate and Well No. 2 is rated Higher.

Middlesex uses water from four wells located in the town that draw from the Coastal Plains Aquifer. Well No. 1 is rated Higher, Well No. 2 is rated Moderate, Well No. 4 is rated Higher and Well No. 5 is rated Higher.

The assessment also tracks 150 possible contaminants in drinking water mostly measured in parts per million, equivalent to one minute in two years or a single penny in $10,000.

Spring Hope water contains the inorganic contaminant fluoride on the high end in Wells No. 1 and 2 and the low end in Wells No. 4 and 6. On the high end, Well No. 1 has 0.64 ppm and Well No. 2 has 0.52 ppm. Likely sources of fluoride are erosion of natural deposits, teeth-strengthening additive of discharges from fertilizer and aluminum factories.

Bailey has copper in its water measured at 0.16 ppm. Copper at either well doesn’t rise to the level of required action such as water treatment. Corrosion of plumbing pipes is a likely copper source.

Middlesex water contains dichloroethylene — a highly flammable, colorless liquid with a sharp, harsh odor — at a rate of 0.9 parts per billion, which is equal to one minute in 2,000 years or one cent out of $10 million. The likely source is discharge from industrial chemical factories.

“Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presences of contaminant does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk,” according to a statement included in the reports from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The elderly, infants and pregnant women may be more vulnerable to drinking water contaminants, according to the reports, which are described as snapshots of last year’s water quality including details about sources, contents and comparisons of municipal water supplies.

The report lists ways residents can protect their source water, including proper disposal of chemicals and taking used motor oil to a recycling center.

Each report ends with information about fats, oils and grease. Each time residents dump bacon grease or other such contaminants, they are contributing to a costly problem in sewer collection systems.

Fat, oils and grease clog pipes and can lead to wastewater backing up into parks, yards, streets and drinking water sources. The reports provide tips to help maintain a well-run sewer system.

*Original article online at http://www.springhopeenterprise.com/stories/towns-water-susceptible-to-contamination,184863

Note from the Fluoride Action Network

High fluoride emissions were documented in a 1988 test of emissions from American Rockwool, Inc. in Spring Hope. American Rockwool makes insulation materials: Rock Wool, Slag, and Silica Mineral. The report notes:

“The main purpose of the test was to determine fluoride emissions when producing rockwool with spent pot linings (SPL) salvaged from ALCOA’s aluminum production operations. It was desired to show to what extent fluoride emissions increase when SPL is substituted for coke. It was also desired to show to what extent the addition of lime decreases fluoride emissions. The filter used for fluoride testing was weighed for particulate determination. Sulfur dioxide was also measured… According to Ken Schuster, the real fluoride concern is that actual fluoride emissions not exceed six (6) pounds per hour and that the annual fluoride increase due to using SPL not exceed three tons.”