Information About Private Wells
Private wells are an important component of the water resource infrastructure in Guilford County. Close to 25 percent of residents rely on private wells and throughout North Carolina, private wells serve roughly 25 percent of residents.
The City of Greensboro and Guilford County Environmental Health share a commitment to inform residents about the presence of emerging contaminants in the water supply, and just as importantly, the steps we are taking to minimize the risks these contaminants can pose to our community.
In fall 2018, the Guilford County Health Department partnered with the NC Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Solid Waste to identify private (drinking water) wells that may be of potential concern due to their close proximity to Horsepen and Brush creeks. These tributaries collect stormwater runoff from the area around the airport industrial complex. It was in these tributaries and the drainage channels connected to them where Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) were detected.
To update and educate the public on the potential health concern and investigation surrounding these compounds, Guilford County Health Department (GCHD), NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) Division of Waste Management hosted a community meeting in December 2018.
In that meeting, the plan for sampling private wells was presented along with proposed actions should well sampling results exceed the EPA Health Advisory Level of 70 ng/l (ppt).
This was a precautionary and proactive measure since no evidence demonstrated water supply wells in the area had been impacted.
Guilford County Public Health and NCDEQ staff collected water samples on December 18-19, 2018 from 42 private water supply wells to evaluate any potential groundwater contamination by these compounds. Residents were notified of their well water results by letters sent out from the state on January 25, 2019.
Of the 42 wells sampled, three wells indicated the presence of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), but the concentration was below EPA’s drinking water health advisory of 70 ng/L (ppt). Several of the remaining water samples collected had an estimated concentration for these contaminants, however they were well below the drinking water health advisory level established by EPA.
After reviewing the sample results, Guilford County Public Health Department and NCDEQ agreed to a second round of sampling. At least nine more water supply wells will be testing later in 2019 after notifications are made and property owner consent forms are obtained.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Joe Johnson, environmental health manager II, Guilford County Public Health at 336-641-7613 or by email.
For those residents who rely on a private well for their source of water and are concerned about the quality of the water they may be receiving, Guilford County Environmental Health provides technical assistance and (fee-based) water quality testing.
While the county’s public health laboratory is not designed to test for emerging contaminants like PFOS and PFOA, it can refer concerned residents to laboratories that are set up to perform this type of analysis.
Two such laboratories, which can perform these tests for a fee, are listed below.
PFOS / PFOA Analysis Laboratories