Duke study creates concern about drinking water from Jordan Lake

Jordan Lake in a photo by Beau Minnick/CBS North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Duke researchers say more study is needed about a major drinking water source for the Triangle area.

In Jordan Lake, they found levels of perfluorinated chemical compounds. While they are different than GenX, some are calling them chemical cousins and say the unregulated compounds can raise risks of cancer.

“The concern is that we don’t know a lot about the health effects of some of these compounds,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Lee Ferguson, an environmental engineering associate professor at Duke.

He wants to see more study and monitoring of emerging contaminants in drinking water across the state.


While the researchers found some perfluorinated compounds in Jordan Lake, they did not find GenX in the lake.

The town of Cary uses Jordan Lake as a drinking water source.

Cary also supplies drinking water to other areas, including Apex, Morrisville, parts of Research Triangle Park, and RDU airport. That is more than 200,000 people.

“Unfortunately, there is just not enough data out there to tell us what is a safe level for some of these compounds,” said Ferguson.

Cary, though, says its drinking water is safe. On the town’s website, it says the detected levels were below federal health advisory levels.

Cary says it is working to stay ahead of the science as the substances continue to be measured at smaller concentrations.

“It’s an issue not only here in the Triangle, but nationwide,” said Ferguson.

The researchers say they will continue to test Jordan Lake and other major drinking water sources next year.

State officials from the Department of Environmental Quality also will test the water.

Cary residents told CBS North Carolina they will be keeping a close watch.

“My pets, my food, cooking, everything relies on my water,” said Laura Cromley, who lives in Cary.

Cary has information on its website about the Duke findings and a way to contact the town if citizens have questions or concerns.

You can access that information by clicking here.


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