State toxicologist: Claim that North Carolina well water was safe was ‘scientifically untrue’

Photo: Sam Malpass of Wilmington holds a glass of water from his home in February 2014. Malpass and his wife Pat are part of a small community near L.V. Sutton Complex, which is operated by Duke Energy. They feel spill off and seepage from large coal ash ponds could be polluting their water. Emails obtained through public-records requests by a conservation group show that State Toxicologist Ken Rudo forcefully resisted the McCrory administration last year as it moved to alter the do-not-drink letters sent to hundreds of well owners near coal-ash pits owned by Duke Energy.

In March 2015, after Rudo had drafted the letters advising well owners — many of whom had elevated levels of the carcinogen hexavalent chromium — against using their water for drinking or cooking, department administrators pushed Duke Energy’s position that the water would generally be considered safe to drink under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. According to Rudo, one of the most experienced health experts in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, that claim is just not true. “Since we now have an absolutely scientifically untrue human health statement insofar as it pertains to chromium … I am removing my name […]

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