EPA to test water in Gaston Co. community

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —

Environmental agents plan to test the water in a Gaston County community because it could be tainted with harmful chemicals  dumped decades ago at a site near Hemphill and Forbes roads. The tests are planned for the spring.
 
It looks clear, but since the Environmental Protection Agency may start testing neighborhood wells Tuesday, Sharon Jones, a mother of three, is concerned about her water.
 
"It makes me worried for them to drink it or for us to drink it,” said Jones.
 
Her community on Forbes Road is near an EPA Superfund site.
 
A recycling operation in the 1950s left contaminates from a hazardous degreaser in the soil.
 
The EPA has been working for decades to keep water headed to homes clean.
 
Now the agency worries that the chemical TCE may be more widespread.
 
It could cause neurological, lung and kidney problems.
 
"My oldest daughter said it doesn't taste like water,” Jones said. “And you can't stand the smell."
      
The EPA has sent letters to about 160 homeowners asking to test their well water.
 
Channel 9 spoke to people who never got the notice about the federal government's concerns. 
 
"I find it odd that this is the first I am hearing about it, from you," said Kim Black, a resident.
 
Black is on the community water system and she wants answers.
 
Ned Brown uses the water every day.

"We use it for cooking, drinking," Brown said. “That sort of upsets me because I'd like to know what we are drinking.”
 
EPA officials were not available to talk to Monday because of the federal holiday.
 
They planned a public hearing last week but had to cancel it because of the weather, and it has not been rescheduled.

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