Welcome to EnvironmentaLEE 

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This Page is dedicated to Lee County water Well problems
newest news first. PLEASE check our Meeting/Event page too here

NOV 15th ,2016:

GOOD NEWS for Colon Community ! 

ELEE is thankful for the efforts being made by our City Council 

and County BOC to help bring clean water to this community.
We hope you will thank the Council and Lee County BOC for making this happen.

ELEE's search Will Continue to find out the source of the 
Chromium Hex and other contaminates that caused this in the 
water wells and fight to keep 8 million tons of Coal Ash being 
dumped on to our largest watershed in Lee County that is 
joined to these residents homes . 
We have no coal ash in Lee County , "Let's keep it that way! 

"We encourage everyone in Lee county to stand up and speak out against being Dumped on. Watch the video below on the final vote for waterlines to Colon. 

More info will be posted here as we learn more.

Monday Aug 29th , 6 pm, we will be at the Lee County Government BOC to continue to help get justice for the Colon Community . We hope You will be there too.
There has been a couple articles out this week telling about our work with Colon/ Osgood community . Here are the links ... http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/environmental-group-not-quitting-clean-water-fight-in-lee-county/article_bc3ef38b-a7d2-5607-b715-4cfac12c57bb.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

We need to continue to ask that Colon/Osgood community get more than just filters in the future , like municipal water lines ran to the community and a full study on "Why this community's water got contaminated in the 1st place?" learn more here .

Click the donate button below to donate $$ for water fund . This is tax deductible Thanks 

Three Colon homes received a WRO 2550 Pentair reverse osmosis water filter.  

quote from article By Marsha Ligon .

“We feel it is a step in the right direction for helping the residents. It’s not an accomplishment as far as finality goes. What those people need is city water,” Ligon said. “In the meantime they needed some type of relief. Relief from the contamination and relief from the stress it has caused.” 

The three homes were selected because they were the three with the highest reported levels of hexavalent chromium that agreed to test the filters on their faucets. 

 We felt fortunate that these 3 were installed free of charge by George Lennon, manager of Bottle Free Water in Fayetteville, agreed to install the three filters for free. He said normally he would charge around $200 per installation, but was motivated by the plight of the Colon residents, especially after learning many were on fixed incomes.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do, Lennon said.

Two of the filters were provided by the manufacturer, Pentair , free of charge, according to Ligon. The third filter was provided by the Lee County Health Department, after it acquired one from Pentair to demonstrate to the Lee County Board of Commissioners how it worked.  Listen to learn more about  ‘Lee County Commission Reverse Osmosis Water Filters 03 - 07 - 16 https://t.co/snTCQvaueL

The county then gave the filter to EnvironmentaLEE since we have been working with the community for a temporary solution with the 22 families that received a  'NO DRINK NO COOK letters ' sent to the residents of Colon/ Osgood by the DHHS . 

The BOC  is now working to give ELEE $6100 donated to them by local businesses to help the community get SOME help with their water till hopefully City of Sanford water pipelines will come their way SOON in the future. 

  We want to thank The Sanford Herald for covering this local news !  Read the full Herald story here  in the comment section . 

It did have one thing wrong in the article they said ELEE has received the money from the BOC but that check has not came yet , we are still working on that deal , so far we have used OUR OWN FUNDS from fundraisers and donations 

 Also a BIG thanks goes out to Mt Calvary Baptist Church for working so hard with us storing donated water and distributing for the families that are in need of bottled bottle. Also for providing a HOME base for our ELEE monthly Community Meetings at 7PM on the 4th Tuesday of the month! 

We have MORE news on this filtration process coming soon so check back here soon . Also come by our next meeting too 

Steve Devane wrote a good story on our fight . Click here to read it . Meet Martha Petty: her efforts keep water flowing 
Please click here to see what we are doing next.

MARCH 22nd Update of the latest in Lee county's Contaminated wells.

LOTS has happened lately here are some highlights you can find more at our facebook page

Go to Terica's blog and see videos of the March 21st BOC meeting .

Learn what the next steps for the Colon / Sanford water wells are ...

Listen to learn more about  ‘Lee County Commission Reverse Osmosis Water Filters 03 - 07 - 16 https://t.co/snTCQvaueL  

NCDEQ Reeder tells Lee Co BOC no water is clean, BUT you can drink it! https://t.co/IimHlEMRwL  


MARCH 10th, 2016 
from a well written article at The Fayetteville Observer http://tinyurl.com/gso6req The state initially advised Lee County public health officials that well users shouldn't drink the water. The order was later rescinded, amid considerable finger-pointing about who wrongly called for the don't-drink-it advice. On Monday, Reeder told Lee commissioners that most of the state's major cities have chromium-6 at higher levels than was found in the county's wells. He hadn't checked, Reeder said, but he expected that the Sanford water system would have higher levels too. He didn't check? He was going to Lee County to calm fearful residents and their leaders, and he didn't check? As Commissioner Robert Reives suggested later in the meeting, "Once you scare the heck out of folks, it's hard to take it back."

So since they (NC DEQ and DHHS) seem to be more worried about their customers than the North Carolinians they are supposed to protect ... I have been doing some research.
One thing I am checking for is more on the Statement that “Chromium Hex is Naturally occurring?” here are 2 things I found on this ....

Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) is a toxic form of the element chromium. Hexavalent chromium is rarely found in nature and is generally man-made. Cr(VI) is widely used in pigments, metal finishing (electroplating), wood preservatives and fungicides, and in chemical synthesis as an ingredient and catalyst. More here on that... http://tinyurl.com/hfmgtfr

hexavalent chromium is a human product of mining, refining, and industrial activity.......so when hexavalent chromium shows up in monitoring results, you can bet it is associated with the industrial discharge, not natural occurrence. from Dr. Dennis Lemly Dennis Lemly is a research biologist . more on that here... https://www.facebook.com/notes/envi...

This is what EPA "recommends" although the standard is not finalized:  EPA’s recommended level of 0.06 ppb for chromium-6. I am guessing that might be why DHHS reported the 0.06 levels in the beginning and changed it to higher #s now to satisfy their Customers like Duke Energy. 

SO much going on after months of testing and finding Lots of wells with Hex Chromium then sending out letters to residents that said DON"T DRINK now they want to say , "OOPS , it is okay !" 


MARCH 7th , 5pm , come early to sign up to speak!

 Lee co BOC meeting has been moved to Courtroom #4, Old Lee County Courthouse, 1400 S. Horner Blvd.

Find more here on this meeting 

Lee Co BOC meeting with DEQ & DHHS

JAN 19th ,2015 Contaminated well count up to 13 . 
Sanford Herald had an article about the last BOC report but did not give a count? http://www.sanfordherald.com/news/all-roads-lead-to-raleigh/article_9e9abf6c-bfcb-11e5-b7ff-537d35bbd795.html 
Dr.Joyce Hawkins spoke to the BOC and I recorded it and asked for her permission to share with you her heart breaking story. the video is above.
She also told me that " She grew and canned her food and now must throw that away because it was canned with the water from her well. 

JAN 11 ,2015 Contaminated well count up to 12
private water samples have shown elevated levels of both vanadium and hexavalent chromium  . County health officials have sent out a total of 306 letters offering free water testing to people who live within one-half mile of a proposed coal ash storage facility on Colon Road. Fifty-four people have responded, and the remaining property owners have until Jan. 31 to do so. Questions can be directed to Lee County Environmental Health Services at (919) 718-4641. 

We are still taking donations and bringing water out to Colon families .
We need help , if you are in a group , church ,org please consider helping too. 
If you would like to help us with fundraisers ,please let us know. 

SANFORD — Plans by city and county officials are moving forward — albeit slowly — to address groundwater contamination and affected residents' lack of access to a public water system.

“We're still trying to get more information out of [North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality] about what's causing [elevated levels of vanadium and hexavalent chromium] and what's going to happen in the future,” Lee County Manager John Crumpton said at Monday's quarterly joint interlocal meeting of Sanford, Broadway and Lee County officials, held at the Sanford Municipal Building.

The rising concern over public water access stems in part from 12 water samples showing contaminants in drinking water near Colon Road. County health department officials instructed those residents not to consume water from their homes. Some have been under that directive since mid-November.

April Montgomery, chairwoman of the Lee County Environmental Affairs Board, reported that she was working to bring officials from the N.C. DEQ to Lee County — but the agency has not been forthcoming with information. The EAB has a tentative meeting scheduled for Jan. 28 for residents, staff and elected officials. Montgomery said she hoped N.C. DEQ would be represented, but a department representative recently said no one would be available until April or May.

“This time frame is ridiculous for people who cannot drink their water,” said Sanford City Councilwoman Rebecca Wyhof. “That is not acceptable.”

“I agree,” Lee County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Amy Dalrymple said. “We were able to speak with Sen. [Ronald] Rabin and Reps. [Brad] Salmon and [Robert] Reives [II] about why we're not getting more cooperation from the state. They all agreed that it is not acceptable, and they are going to try to help us. In particular, I don't see why DEQ can't be at our Jan. 28 meeting.” Details of the upcoming meeting have not been determined. 

Among the options is for the county to start paying to run water lines in areas not currently being served. Crumpton said a December estimate from Sanford Public Works Director Vic Czar was $250,000 for water line extensions on Old Colon Road and Amos Bridges Road. Now, the county is looking for an estimate on a quarter-mile stretch of Old Colon Road only.

“It's a bureaucratic process,” Crumpton said. “We didn't expect this.”

The county also may be able to tap into money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, although that option is far more complicated, Crumpton said. USDA has money available for public water projects, but the city does not qualify. The county may qualify — and has used this money previously for a project on North Plank Road — but the funds come with the stipulation that the county owns the water line for several years after installation. The county does not operate a public water system and thus would need to identify people to maintain the line and contract with Sanford for water.

“It sounds simple, but it's really not,” Crumpton said. “Putting all of that in place takes time. That doesn't mean it's not worthwhile to do it, but we would have to consider all of those issues.”

A decision likely will not come soon. Residents who received an offer of free water testing from the county have until Jan. 31 to respond to those requests, and the results of testing will take several weeks to be complete after that point, Registered Environmental Health Specialist Heath Cain told county commissioners at the board's last meeting.

Commissioner Tim Sloan also wants the city and county to consider this issue as broader than the Colon Road wells. He and Commissioner Ricky Frazier pointed to the Pocket community and Hunter Farm Road as places where access to public water is at issue, often because of the cost of digging wells that are not always able to access the water table.

“We have a situation at Colon,” Sloan said. “If we do something there, we can't be closed-minded about what's going to happen elsewhere. We could have the same problem in other areas.”

“I think from the citizens' perspective, we've been talking about it a lot, but not doing a lot,” Dalrymple said. “At the same time, like John [Crumpton] and [Sanford City Manager] Hal [Hegwer] said, the staff has been working together a lot. We go home and turn on our faucet and go about our lives, and these residents need us to make progress.”

Facebook event page Water Collection for Colon Community

Cumnock Baptist Church is partnering with EnvironmentaLee to assist residents in the Colon community. Recently, hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, has been detected in numerous community wells. Cumnock Baptist Church, 957 Cumnock Road, Sanford , will be a collection site during December for all those interested in donating water to affected residents.
The purchased, unopened water can be dropped off between 6:30 - 8:00 PM on Wednesdays, and 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM Sundays. For more information, call 919-704-6435.

Contaminated well count up to 9

Here is part of the story In today's SANFORD HERALD – Dec 22, 2015 

The total number of contaminated wells in the Colon Road-Osgood community is up to nine, according to Lee County health officials, adding to concerns about the presence of hexavalent chromium, or Cr(VI), in the area’s groundwater.

Initial tests in November showed four wells with Cr(VI) levels above the standard permitted .07 micrograms per liter, and county health officials urged people on the affected properties not to drink or cook with their water until more information became available. Those residents – and ones on five new properties in the area – still are waiting for county and state officials to determine how they should proceed.

“I’m telling people [with abnormal test results] that it’s a state issue now but please keep us updated,” said Lee County Health Director Terrell Jones, who has been working on the issue with the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. “But it may become a county issue when it comes to a solution.” ...

In the meantime, EnvironmentaLEE has set up a fundraiser to help provide bottled water for the people living on affected properties. Donations can be made through https://www.environmentalee.org/water-well-info.

more here 

SANFORD — Lee County commissioners and staff are struggling to determine how to assist residents whose well water contains high levels of the contaminant hexavalent chromium — and facing the possibility that the issue is more widespread.

Recent test results showing elevated levels of the compound, Cr(VI), in four private wells near Colon Road united commissioners on a mission for answers and help for residents despite difficulty with communication from state officials about how to proceed. Cr(VI) is a known carcinogen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I think we need to offer as much service as we can to those folks,” board of commissioners vice-chairman Ricky Frazier said during Monday’s regular board meeting, where the issue was addressed. “I understand it’s not our responsibility legally.”

The well test results came after county officials offered voluntary testing to residents within a 1,000-foot radius of property owned by Charah. The property is set to become a storage site for coal ash, a by-product of electricity production. Duke Energy contracted with Charah to use this property, and state guidelines in the Coal Ash Management Act require an offer of baseline testing before coal ash transport.

While only one resident took advantage of Duke’s offer earlier in the fall, around a dozen others opted to allow county officials to test their water by the initial Dec. 1 deadline. The contamination already was in the water and is not related to coal ash, which is set to be transported to Lee County in 2017.

County Manager John Crumpton said as of Monday, his office received 33 responses from 77 letters sent out with an extended response deadline. Crumpton asked the board to approve increasing the testing radius to one half-mile from the Charah property. A half-mile is 2,640 feet, which more than doubles the original area and includes around 300 land parcels. Letters will be sent to affected property owners.

The vote to approve increased testing was unanimous, but the commissioners expressed frustration with communication from N.C. officials.

Terrell Jones, Lee County’s health director, said he and his staff have been in touch with multiple state officials, but exact answers about how to proceed and what role the state will play is murky. A state epidemiologist told Jones a water filtering system, which had been discussed as a possible option, may work but is expensive. Jones said representatives from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services’ Occupational and Environmental Health Division have been apprised of the problem and are looking into solutions and resolutions.

Alexandra Lefebvre, public information officer for DHHS, directed residents back to the county health department in a statement about DHHS’s role in investigating the issue. She said DHHS is not involved in the regulation of private wells.

“Private well owners must take special precautions to ensure the protection and maintenance of their drinking water supplies,” she said.

Commissioner Kirk Smith made a motion giving Crumpton the authority to hire Bryan Brice, a Raleigh-based environmental issues attorney, to assist the county in working with various state departments and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

“I think we need to pursue the attorney,” said Commissioner Tim Sloan. “They [state officials] may squabble back and forth, and while they’re doing that, these people are living with this.”

The motion passed unanimously.

“What kind of help can be provided [by the county] for people who can’t use their water?” asked Commissioner Larry “Doc” Oldham. County health department officials previously have warned affected residents not to drink or cook with their water.

The wells are on private roads, and the homeowners would have to pay for them to be connected to public water if that is a possibility, Crumpton said. He said he does not believe the county can do anything immediately to address the problem.

“I don’t understand where we are,” said Commissioner Robert Reives. “What can the county do to speed up the response from the state?”

“We’re not really sure at this point what we can or can’t do,” Crumpton said.

Another significant hurdle is the inability of the county to compel people to allow water testing. Smith noted that one goal of the testing should be to detect a pattern of contamination to help determine the source of the Cr(VI). A larger number of people allowing their well and surface water to be tested will help that process.

“We can’t go onto property and start testing,” Crumpton said. “We don’t have that authority unless we’re invited. The [Environmental Protection Agency] and the state could have that authority if they have evidence.”

Reives suggested that while sorting out what can be done, commissioners should contact Lee County representatives both in the N.C. legislature and Congress to inform them of the situation. He also included a request to discuss the potential cost to connect affected residents to the city’s water and to ask Karen Kennedy, community development manager for the city of Sanford, to research possible low-cost loans for these connections. The motion passed unanimously.

EnvironmentaLEE and Cumnock Baptist Church are partnering to help affected residents. Unopened bottles of water can be delivered to Cumnock Baptist Church, 957 Cumnock Road, during December. Water will be accepted from 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sundays.

Officials, activists address well water test results

By Brandi Brown [email protected]  Dec 4th
SANFORD — Local environmental activists canvassed Colon Road neighborhoods last weekend as county officials continue to work on a plan to address elevated levels of hexavalent chromium, or Cr(VI), found in four private wells in the area.

The allowable limit for the compound is .07 micrograms per liter, according to the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health. The four wells with elevated levels have rates of .08, .42, .54 and 3.92 micrograms per liter. Lee County Manager John Crumpton said these results, as well as further testing, will be discussed at Monday’s meeting of the board of commissioners, set for 3 p.m. Monday in board chambers at the Lee County Government Center, 106 Hillcrest Drive, Sanford.

“Cr(VI) is a well-established carcinogen associated with lung, nasal and sinus cancer,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Baseline well water testing was part of the Coal Ash Management Act, said Sarah Young, a public information officer with the water quality division at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. The law required testing for wells within 1,500 feet of proposed coal ash ponds, which are storage sites for the byproduct of electricity production. Duke Energy is required to remove coal ash from various plants around the state. Up to 8 million tons of coal ash is expected to be transported to Lee County beginning in 2017.

Duke’s initial offer of testing went to people living within 1,000 feet of the property. One resident responded to the call for voluntary testing samples, and early this fall, county officials opted to send out their own letters offering testing.

The county’s testing, which revealed the elevated Cr(VI) levels, started from the edges of the property owned by Green Meadow, the company contracting with Duke for the coal ash removal, rather than the exact site of the proposed coal ash fill ponds.

Don Kovasckitz, director of Sanford/Lee County Strategic Services, said the exact number of private wells in the area cannot be determined, but there are at least 54 in use in the affected area. He determined this number by creating a half-mile radius from the Green Meadow property. Any property intersecting the radius that has a standing structure but no connection to public water was included in the count. Kovasckitz noted, however, that having a water meter on site does not mean the current property owners are using it or do not have a well for outdoor uses, such as watering a garden.

Over the weekend, members of the group EnvironmentaLEE canvassed the neighborhoods surrounding the Colon Road mine site with information about the test results. Members Debbie Hall and Terica Luxton said they felt the group was successful in raising awareness of the issue. Some residents who live outside the 1,000-foot radius of the Green Meadow property were not aware of the results.

“They have unanswered questions,” Hall said. “We did not speak with anyone who was not concerned about what it means for them.”

What it means at a minimum for now is that residents with elevated levels of hexavalent chromium have been told by state and county officials not to drink or cook with the water in their homes. Crumpton said Heath Cain, the county’s registered environmental health specialist, has been in contact with state officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the state DEQ, to determine next steps.

Cain said everyone whose test results showed an elevated level of Cr(VI) received a letter with the contact information for a state toxicologist who can help with giving guidance. Thus far, the county has received 22 requests for water testing. Fourteen of those samples have been taken, and of the 14, the results are back from 8.

“We suggested that people with young children not bathe them or mix their formula with the water either,” Luxton said. “These people can’t even cook with the water in their houses but now have to go out and buy water. It’s just heartbreaking, and I’m really outraged this is going on.”

Luxton and Hall said they are hopeful the county commissioners will address the issue adequately Monday’s meeting. They said most people they talked to during the canvass knew about the water well testing, but some were not clear that the testing now is going through the county and not Duke Energy.

“We told people first to take advantage of what the county commissioners are offering,” Hall said. “They’re trying to help us.”

Crumpton said staff members working on this issue will ask commissioners Monday to extend the line for testing to a half-mile radius.

On Nov 23rd "Some Colon area wells contaminated, county finds " was the first article we saw ...


Then one Thanksgiving the front page headline read   Four wells around Colon Road contaminated with carcinogen ... by Zach Potter 

SANFORD — Local and state officials have advised residents not to drink or cook with water from four wells in the area of Colon Road after finding elevated levels of hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen associated with respiratory irritation, kidney damage, liver damage and other health effects.

"We found elevated levels in a couple of the tests," Lee County Manager John Crumpton told The Herald Wednesday. "The folks have been advised not to drink their water. We'll have to look into it a little bit further and have the state do a little more research, but right now, the state's recommending [residents] put some type of filter on it."

Gladys and Michael Reaves, of the 300 block of Birchard Road, had the highest level of hexavalent chromium at 3.92 micrograms per liter, or 56 times the allowable limit of 0.07 micrograms of hexavalent chromium per liter, according to the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health. A microgram is one millionth of a gram.

"They told us not to drink the water," Gladys said. "They said all we could do was bathe in it and wash clothes in it. ... I'm really concerned because of my husband, what he's going through now. He had cancer, and he's been through [chemotherapy] twice."

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration, hexavalent chromium is known to cause cancer.

"My husband was diagnosed last year," Gladys said. "In the meantime, we didn't know anything about the water. His mom and dad died from cancer, and they lived out here, too."

Crumpton said any discussion of what caused the elevated hexavalent chromium levels would be purely speculative.

"When [the Lee County Board of Commissioners] meets on Dec. 7, I'm going to discuss it with the board," Crumpton said. "And I think we'll probably ask the state to come down and do an in-depth investigation, talk with these folks about what's been causing it. We're not experts in that field. The state is. That's why they have the [N.C. Division of Environmental Quality] and in it, a Division of Water Quality."

Crumpton said local health officials tested 14 wells around Colon Road on Nov. 12 as part of baseline testing in preparation for receipt of up to 8 million tons of coal ash Duke Energy plans to store in the area starting in 2017.

The county still is waiting for the results from six of the 14 tests, but in addition to Reaves's well, three others were found to contain more than 0.07 micrograms per liter of hexavalent chromium.

A well on Hawkinberry Lane contained 0.42 micrograms per liter, a well on Old Colon Road contained 0.54 micrograms per liter and a well in the 100 block of Post Office Road contained 0.08 micrograms per liter, just over the allowable limit.

"Obviously it's a public health issue," Crumpton said of the contamination. "And the county and the state have responsibilities when it comes to this. We're reviewing, figuring out what we need to do to help these people."