More testing ordered for private wells near Dominion Virginia plant

WASHINGTON — More testing will be done on private wells in Dumfries, Virginia near a Dominion Virginia Power plant.

“There have been inconsistent results of the wells,” said Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. “Some of the results showed lead, other results did not show a significant level of lead.”

Earlier this month, the power company began releasing into Quantico Creek more than 200 million gallons of treated wastewater from the coal-ash ponds at its Possum Point Power Station.

Coal ash is a by-product from burning coal. The plant stopped burning coal in 2003. But residents who live near the coal ash ponds are afraid to drink their well water after testing was done on their wells.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.”

Stewart said the county is concerned about the inconsistent test results and is paying to have two residents’ wells retested to determine whether the well water is being contaminated by Dominion, by the ground, by the homeowners’ own pipes or by another source.

He said that the testing should get underway soon.

Stewart said that they are starting by testing two wells, but, if need be, the testing could be expanded to other wells.

Meanwhile, Resource International LTD reviewed private well tests by the Virginia Department of Health. The review said it’s reasonable to conclude the Dominion ash ponds do not represent a source for lead in connection to the private wells because groundwater monitoring from 2014 and 2015 at the power station showed no release of lead into the groundwater.

Rob Richardson with Dominion said that Dominion has wells that monitor groundwater around Possum Point and that quarterly tests are conducted. He said those tests have shown no evidence that groundwater has been impacted.

But the Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN), an environmental group, said it does not agree that the groundwater has not been contaminated.  On its website, it says that the coal ash ponds at the power plant had contaminated groundwater in 2014. PRKN said that it filed a complaint with the EPA in June 2015.

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