Cost Concerns May Lead to Less Testing of Wells in North Carolina

Who should pay for the testing of private water wells in Western North Carolina? That’s a question being debated by the state General Assembly, which passed a mandate last year requiring more testing of new wells. The testing would cost $230 to any developer who drills a new well.

Leaving the testing of new wells up to local health officials, as a new proposal suggests, would be a gift to developers, who wouldn’t be required to foot the bill. It would also mean less testing since local health officials would only conduct testing in known contaminated areas.

However, Former Rep. Charles Thomas, who opposes the bill and pushed last year to have benzene added to the list of substances to test for, said there’s no way of knowing where chemicals have been dumped in the area and how far the pollution from a former CTS Asheville plant has spread.

It’s unfortunate that cost is being put above the safety of those who drink the well-water, a powerful point made by Thomas: “Testing the water properly is a lot cheaper than treating a brain tumor in a 4-year-old.”

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