Union Co. Insists Water is Safe, Residents Still Suspicious

WESLEY CHAPEL, N.C. – “I don’t trust it,” says Wesley Chapel resident Susan Mann. The water test results written on a yellow door hanger are still not putting to rest Mann’s concerns. “Not really, I feel that I’m gonna do my own, independent (test), I’m gonna bring someone else in,” she says.

She, and others, are suspicious of the water after learning Union County temporarily used free chlorine to disinfect the water in February. The county says switching disinfectants is standard practice to maintain a healthy water system, and that the free chlorine was flushed from the system by the end of April.

But news of the switch, and the time frame, are raising concerns. Numerous people claim that over the past few months, they’ve noticed unusual hair loss. Mann says she even wonders if chemicals in the water have caused an increase in her daughter’s epileptic seizures. “It’s concerning,” she says.

Another Union County resident shared her county water test results with WCCB, too, that show free chlorine, as of Friday. She also sent WCCB photos of her hair loss that she calls “sudden and excessive.”

“There’s nothing we can look at from the test results that show it’s the water,” says Hyong Yi, the Union County Public Works Administrator.

WCCB News @ Ten anchor Morgan Fogarty asked him why free chlorine is still showing up. He says, “You’re gonna have a small amount of free chlorine as a result of a chemical reaction between the chloramine, the water system, the ammonia, everything that’s in the system.”

Yi says the water system is tested 100 times a month, and meets or exceeds standards set by the EPA and the state. He calls temporarily switching disinfectants every three years standard operating procedure. Fogarty asked, “So in three years again, is it fair to presume that there’s a chance that free chlorine will be run through the system again?” Yi replied, “To maintain system health, yes.”

The people who’ve talked to WCCB about their concerns with the water have also been to their doctors, who have cleared them of any medical condition that could cause hair loss.