Four decades after Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, some North Carolina residents still lack access to clean drinking water.
Roughly one quarter of the state population relies on private wells for their potable water, a source not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act. While North Carolina has enacted regulations and programs to help protect groundwater quality and the health of private well users, and most private wells are safe, evidence suggests that overall, private wells are more at risk of contamination than community water systems regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Sources of contamination include failing septic systems, industrial facilities, natural geologic deposits of arsenic and other contaminants, coal ash, hog waste, and future threats like climate change effects and others. Private well users additionally bear the burden of maintaining their own water source and determining how best to protect their water supply, usually with little to no technical expertise and often with little technical support.
This Summit will convene community representatives, rural residents, private well owners, environmental justice advocates, municipal officials, public health practitioners and local health departments, state and federal agency representatives, water utilities, and industries to develop recommendations addressing new and old threats to North Carolina’s private wells. The goal is to work toward an assurance of safe drinking water for all North Carolinians.
Like this seven previous Environmental Health Summits convened by The Collaborative, the goal is generating a work product with meaningful and actionable recommendations/solutions from the Community Education, Governance/Policy, Pollution Prevention and Technology Work Groups.
Environmental Protection Agency
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University
North Carolina State University
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health
Social & Scientific Systems, Inc.
Integrated Laboratory Systems
North Carolina Biotechnology Center