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Homebuilders inject pesticides into home foundations to kill termites


(NaturalNews) Raleigh residents who had long touted the quality of their well water got a big surprise when it was revealed that their water was not quite as pure as they thought.

In 2012, low levels of four carcinogenic chemicals were discovered in several area wells. Two years later, state environmental officials determined that the contamination was probably caused by pesticides that had been sprayed there decades earlier in order to prevent termites, with agricultural operations spraying another possibility.

In the meantime, residents who are looking for some clean water will have to open up their wallets. In fact, the dozens of residents who live in the affected area near Trawick Road and New Bern Avenue can expect to pay around $2,200 per year for ten years in addition to a hookup fee of $2,500 if they want to tap into Raleigh's lines.

Outraged residents who are concerned about paying for the access circulated a petition asking the Wake County Board of Commissioners to cover the hookup cost and finance the project. The commissioners say they are waiting for the outcome of the EPA's investigation in August before determining their next step.

The affected areas are surrounded by the city limits of Raleigh and are known as "doughnut holes". They get their water from wells and make use of septic systems. The city has at least 50 major residential development doughnut holes.

The contaminated water is an imminent public health risk, so the utilities department is asking Raleigh's city council to waive the annexation requirement. This would give the residents access to city water without requiring them to pay city taxes.

Widespread pesticide contamination found

One concerned resident decided to get a well water test in October 2012, which found pesticides such as chlordane and dieldrin. Eleven more wells were subsequently tested, and seven of them had those two chemicals as well as heptachlor epoxide. Pesticide concentrations were also found in a dozen irrigation wells in the area. A further 130 wells in the affected neighborhoods were tested over the course of the next four years, and 45 of them ended up containing pesticides.

Of the contaminated wells, 14 had levels of pesticides that were over the limits set by state standards and nine of them exceeded federal standards.

Termite spraying likely culprit

The federal investigation concluded that the pesticides were likely pumped into the foundations of the homes when they were first built back in the1960s. This was a common occurrence at the time, and many of the pesticides they used have since been banned.

However, when the industrial chemical PCE was found in a well in the area in February, investigators started digging further, with an old aerial photo of the area showing what might be an airfield and anecdotal information pointing to an airstrip in the area that carried out crop dusting.

This story is yet another reason that using a water filter like the highly effective gravity water filter Big Berkey is so important. While four of the homes in this case have been given water filtration systems by the EPA, it's not along-term solution, and the system provided by the EPA costs around $700 a year to maintain. The problem could ultimately affect the value of the homes in the area, and no one can predict how these levels will change over time.

The idea that such dangers could be lurking in our water is unsettling, as most people drink their water without giving it a second thought. The water testing initiated by the resident in this case has now drawn attention to the problem and helped save people from further exposure. Concerned residents can make use of EPAWatch's free water testing initiative to find out if their drinking water is as safe as it should be.

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