Water pours from a kitchen faucet

For people on private wells, race and income often determine whether water is safe to drink

BY: - August 7, 2023

Roughly 2.4 million North Carolinians rely on private wells for their drinking water. But unlike public water systems, private wells are not regulated under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.  Instead of a utility being responsible for ensuring the drinking water is free of contaminants, residents on private wells are the stewards of their own […]

This is a photo of a metal building, about a half mile long, that housed the former Alcoa plant in Badin, in Stanly County

Dishonorable discharge: Runoff from a former industrial site is contaminating an important NC lake

BY: - November 22, 2022

Alcoa's continued discharge of toxics into Badin Lake, a popular fishing and swimming destination, linked to paltry fines, lax state oversight  Alcoa, the eighth-largest aluminum company in the world, whose global reach spans 11 countries, claims on its website that it "operates with excellence" and "cares about people around the globe." The residents of West Badin, in Stanly County, and many of their neighbors across Badin Lake disagree.

Former Army missile plant in Burlington poses “an urgent public health risk”

BY: - September 9, 2021

Private owners neglect the contaminated property, posing an environmental threat to a Black and Latinx neighborhood

This is the second of a two-part story about hazardous contamination at a former missile plant in Burlington that is threatening a predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhood.

After contamination found in groundwater, DEQ orders full investigation of Chatham County coal ash site

BY: - June 24, 2019

Groundwater near a coal ash repository in Chatham County has again tested high for contaminants, prompting state environmental officials to require a full assessment of the site. A former clay mine, Brickhaven lies four miles southeast of Moncure near the Lee County line.

Bills would crack down on polluters, set “precautionary” standard for PFAS and other emerging compounds

BY: - April 8, 2019

State environmental regulators would be required to set a standard of 10 parts per trillion for perfluorinated compounds, according to Senate Bill 518, introduced on Friday. The “precautionary” 10 ppt trillion standard would be applied to any emerging compound for which there are no federal or state regulations. This would include GenX, 1,4-dioxane and the […]

Their wells contaminated, residents near Chemours plant will receive bottled water

BY: - September 21, 2017

State environmental officials announced today they have instructed Chemours to provide bottled water to 11 households whose private wells tested above the health goal of 140 parts per trillion set for GenX. Chemours conducted the sampling, but the state is reviewing the protocol and results, so the findings are still preliminary.  To date, Chemours has […]

Monday map time: Find a contaminated dry cleaning site near you

BY: - September 26, 2016

There is nothing “dry” about dry cleaning, and little that’s clean about it, either. Statewide, an estimated 1,500 dry cleaners – both operating and defunct  –  have potentially contaminated the water, dirt and/or air with toxic solvents. PERC, or perchloroethylene, is the solvent most widely used at dry cleaners. Your clothes are essentially bathed in […]

EPA names 173 companies in $5.5 million settlement over PCB contamination in Wake County

BY: - September 24, 2016

For more than 10 years, it has been forbidden to eat a single fish from Brier Creek Reservoir in Wake County. Areas downstream, such as Brier Creek and Little Brier Creek, were also off-limits. That prohibition extended for nearly 30 miles southwest, to Crabtree Creek, Lake Crabtree, on down into parts of the Neuse River […]