Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Apr 3;52(7):4350-4357. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b05812. Epub 2018 Mar 14.

Elevated Lead in Water of Private Wells Poses Health Risks: Case Study in Macon County, North Carolina.

Author information

Civil and Environmental Engineering , Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University , 418 Durham Hall , Blacksburg , Virginia 24061 , United States.
Environmental Health Services , Macon County Public Health Department , 1830 Lakeside Drive , Franklin , North Carolina 28734 , United States.


Recent research has indicated that lead in water of private wells is in the range of that which caused problems in Flint, Michigan. However, there is limited understanding of the mechanisms for water lead release in these systems. We evaluated water lead at the homes of two children with elevated blood lead in Macon County (North Carolina), which did not have identifiable lead paint or lead dust hazards, and examined water lead release patterns among 15 private wells in the county. Water lead release patterns differed among the 15 private wells. Problems with lead release were associated with (1) dissolution of lead from plumbing during periods of stagnation; (2) scouring of leaded scales and sediments during initial water use; and (3) mobilization of leaded scales during continued water use. Accurate quantification of water lead was highly dependent on sample collection methods, as flushing dramatically reduced detection of lead hazards. The incidence of high water lead in private wells may be present in other counties of North Carolina and elsewhere in the United States. The underestimation of water lead in wells may be masking cases of elevated blood lead levels attributed to this source and hindering opportunities to mitigate this exposure.


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center