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Frightening and Infuriating Water Contamination in Wake Forest

November 7th, 2012

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a carcinogenic chemical, capable of causing liver tumors in laboratory animals. Although there have been no studies of the direct effects of TCE in humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified TCE as a “probable human carcinogen,” based on animal research and studies of individuals exposed to TCE on the job. Long-term or repeated exposure to TCE has been associated with damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system.

In short, TCE is a toxic chemical that has the potential to cause serious health effects in people. And some people in Wake Forest, NC, have just found out that their drinking water has been contaminated with TCE for years. The homeowners didn’t know about it, but North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources knew. They knew for seven years, and didn’t tell the affected homeowners (so they continued to drink contaminated water) and they didn’t stop new homes from being built in the contamination zone (so families not only started drinking toxic water, but they also invested money in a property that others knew was contaminated).

This is a nightmare for the affected Wake Forest homeowners…and it should be frightening to everyone in North Carolina who believes that the government would never knowingly let people drink poison.

According to an article on the Huffington Post website, it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that the EPA called residents in the Stony Hill Road area of Wake Forest and told them that their water may contain TCE. Residents were warned that they shouldn’t drink, cook, or even bathe in their water.

“I’m furious,” homeowner Mark Stonefield said to WNCN. “I’m very upset about it. That’s the biggest problem I’ve had with this whole situation is the state knew about it in 2005. We bought this land in 2007 and built a house on it in 2008 and our kids have been drinking the water for over 4 years now and no one notified us there was even the possibility that the water could be contaminated.”

According to an article provided by the N.C. Division of Waste Management, there are two sources of ground water contamination: 7303 Stony Hill Road, the site of two former circuit board assembly companies, and a second site about a half mile away, on property that was once owned by the previous owner of the Stony Hill Road site.

The contamination is not limited to residents on Stony Hill Road. Several homes on Mangum Hollows Drive, also in Wake Forest, have also tested positive for TCE.

These contaminated sites are in an area that few would think would have this kind of toxicity issues–they are adjacent to Falls Lake State Park, and close to the tony Hasentree golf course and development, where houses have been listed for $1 million-plus. (To see a map of the affected locations, click here:  Map of contaminated sites)

WHAT TO DO

If you live in an area affected by contamination, we recommend that you have your well water tested to see if your home has been affected. If so, please visit your physician and request a physical examination, including tests for kidney and liver function. Since those organs are most affected by TCE, it is good to get a baseline measure of their current status.

Also, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney about what legal steps you can take to help safeguard your family’s health and financial well-being. An attorney can look at your individual situation, assess the damages you’ve suffered, and help you fight for compensation.

“Our law firm is determined to do everything it can to bring justice for the residents who have suffered illness, fear, and the diminution of their property values as a result of this tragedy,” said Anne Duvoisin, an attorney at HensonFuerst. “Our firm is actively investigating these Wake Forest contamination cases.”

If you would like to speak with one of our experienced attorneys, call us at 1-800-4-LAWMED. HensonFuerst is here to help.

To read the full article on the Huffington Post website, click here: Wake Forest Water Contamination