A recent study by the Orange County Health Department and UNC student groups found 10 contaminated wells and 24 out-of-compliance septic systems in the Rogers Road neighborhood.
For some time, neighbors have been asking local governments to connect them to OWASA's water and sewer systems. There is no evidence that the Orange County Landfill is responsible for well contamination, but the community has been asking for compensation for having to live with the odor, noise and traffic for nearly 40 years.
The health department wanted to apply for federal Community Development Block Grant funding last summer but didn't have the necessary data showing well and septic failure. The recent survey will enable the department to reapply this year, according to environmental health director Tom Konsler.
"There may be a need to act sooner than this," said Konsler. "There may be some needs to put some Band-Aids on some of these systems."
Most homes along Rogers Road already have public water, but among 11 households who agreed to have their wells tested, only one met Environmental Protection Agency standards for water quality. Most exceeded EPA standards for bacteria, mineral or chemical content and two contained unsafe levels of the gasoline additive MTBE.
Septic systems were tested at the same 11 homes, plus 34 additional homes that already had public water service. Among all 45 homes, more than half had septic systems that were either malfunctioning, in need of maintenance or otherwise out of compliance with regulations. Ten needed slight modifications, nine needed maintenance, and five needed replacement.