Drinking Water Flip-Flop Risks Families Health
A year ago families near Duke Energy plants were issued a do not drink notice because of contamination in their well water, they've been living off of bottled water since. Now the notice has been discontinued and Duke will no longer provide bottled water, however the contamination levels have not changed. Governor McCrory should be sticking up for these families and find a permanent solution to these still high risk areas of coal ash.
Albarran and his family of four children moved to a house near the Buck Steam Station in Salisbury in 2010 and had no reservations about drinking the water from a well he shared with a neighbor.
“I thought the water well was safe. i thought that was the safest water to drink,” Albarran said. “I was scared for my children.”
In the wake of the order not to drink the water, Duke Energy began paying to supply the affected households with bottled water.
A walk around Albarran’s house now takes you across stacks of cases of bottled water. He says the constant need to move the heavy cases has taken a toll on an injury he suffered at work that put him on disability.
But, in the year since his family started drinking the bottled water, Albarran said he’s noticed a positive change in his health.
Albarran said he suffered rashes across his body for years. “My arms, my lower legs; I thought it was poison ivy or poison oak,” he said. “I treated it with medicine but nothing worked.”
His kids, too, suffered from chronic health problems; mostly upset stomachs.
“I didn’t know what could be causing it until they tested the water and we knew what was going on,” Albarran said. “Once we started drinking the (bottled) water, a month later the rashes went away. My kids don’t get as sick anymore.”
Now, Albarran bristles at the thought of having to drink the water out of his tap again. He blames Governor Pat McCrory, who oversees DHHS and DEQ as governor, for the decision to rescind the ‘do not drink’ letter.
“How does he expect me to give this water to my children and poison them?” Albarran asked. “That’s wrong.”
Regulators say decision based on facts, science
DEQ’s Assistant Secretary for the Environment, Tom Reeder, explained the state’s decision to rescind the ‘do not drink’ letters in remarks to the Lee County Board of Commissioners in early March.
“You have to stick to the facts. You have to stick to science,” Reeder told commissioners.
“You can have up to 100 ppb of hexavalent chromium in your water and still be considered safe to drink,” he said, referring to the EPA’s current standard for total chromium.