Many residents in Delaware do not think twice about whether or not their well water is safe to drink, but over the last few years in Delaware, concern has been growing about the well water used in and around the state. Over time, drinking contaminated water will cause health problems ranging from as minor as temporary skin rashes to various types of cancer. The severity of the illness depends on many factors, including what chemical and at what concentration it is found in the water. Many homeowners are worried and are not sure what to do about it. Should they rely on what the government is telling them? Should they do independent tests on their well water, and if so, what independent companies should they use and who should pay for those tests?
Recent testing of untreated well water throughout the state of Delaware has demonstrated surprising results that have made homeowners concerned. In 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey performed testing on wells throughout the state. Of the 30 wells tested, 16 of them contained PFAS chemicals. PFAS stands for a class of chemical compounds called perfluoroalkyl substances, which are made up of the PFO (perfluorooctane sulfonate) chemical and the PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) chemical. They are often commonly called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down in the environment and are present for all time. The data from the study is quite disturbing, especially when it is extrapolated out to the entire state. Currently, about 20% of the Delaware population gets its drinking water from a privately drilled and maintained well on private property.
In October 2021, a new law was enacted to address the issue, at least partially. The new law has set forth the process to create a maximum number of contaminations of PFAS that can be allowed. The law also required the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to issue the findings of the above-mentioned study. This is a good first step, but it should have happened years ago. The EPA has known for decades about the dangers of these toxic chemicals.
When homeowners who get their drinking water from a well learn that their well has been contaminated with chemicals they may not know where to turn next. The fact that they have been drinking contaminated water for potentially years, it can be pretty scary. But these homeowners do not have to do it alone. There are Delaware law firms that practice an area of law called “Toxic Torts.” This type of case is when someone becomes sick due to some type of contamination by a corporation. The contamination can be to drinking water or soil. If you are experiencing unexplained illness such as cancer and your water has been contaminated, you need to contact an experienced toxic tort lawyer to have your questions answered.
If you believe your well drinking water has been contaminated and have suffered health effects due to chemical exposure, let the Wilmington environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.C. help you. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware offices serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.