Petroleum particles found in Franklin County neighborhood drinking water

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has found petroleum particles in some Franklin County residents’ drinking water. 18 drinking water wells in the Coopers Cove neighborhood in Hardy tested positive for gasoline constituents.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is now trying to figure out how the gasoline particles got into wells in Franklin County.

More than a dozen homes in the Coopers Cove neighborhood are impacted by the chemicals in water wells. Neighbors told WDBJ7 they’re concerned about what the long-term effects are, and they want to know how long they’ve been drinking the contaminated water.

The tank technical program manager for the DEQ explained the department is testing water wells and nearby streams after a Coopers Cove homeowner tasted and smelled petroleum in their water.

“We first found out about it in November, and we were immediately on site beginning investigations of providing safe drinking water,” Zach Pauley said.

The chemical, known as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), is added to gasoline to help it burn cleaner and reduce combustion. MTBE is highly soluble, and it dissolves easily in water. But not much is known about what happens if you are exposed to the contaminant.

“While it’s not a known carcinogen, there is a health advisory for MTBE,” Pauley said.

MTBE can get into drinking water from underground gasoline storage tanks leaking or from car accidents where petroleum gets onto the road.

Pauley explained the department has started to trace back to where the chemicals came from.

“At least two sources have been identified so far and we’re still investigating at this time,” Pauley said.

WDBJ7 asked what those sources were, but the DEQ did not answer, citing the ongoing investigation.

The 18 affected homes now have carbon filtration units to make their water safe to drink and use. The DEQ installed the units after they learned about the contaminated water.

“They [the filtration units] are filled with the same granular carbon that might be in a refrigerator pitcher,” Pauley said. “It’s filtering that water and absorbing the compounds and giving you safe drinking water on the other end.”

Pauley explained the filtration units are only a temporary solution.

“I would say in the next month we’ll have more information about possible sources and some plans for providing a permanent source of drinking water,” Pauley said.

The Virginia DEQ is continuing its investigation and looking for long-term solutions.

This article was originally published by a . Read the Original article here. .