WORKERS: State Groundwater Investigations Unit In Danger

Workers at the Groundwater Investigations Unit of the state’s Division of Water Quality field office in Kinston say they’re worried about their jobs – and the future of North Carolina’s drinking water.

They say the state is considering eliminating the unit from its budget, which they say will have a negative effect on the state’s groundwater. Workers say they say monitor things like nitrate and arsenic levels in aquifers to see if there’s contamination. If there is, they say they’re trained to fix the problem using drills.

Workers say the unit is the only one like it in the state – and say without it, contamination levels could go unchecked, leaving those who drink the state’s groundwater in trouble.

They say if there’s contamination, the state will have to contract drilling companies to fix the problem. Workers say that will be more expensive in the long run because most drilling companies are trained to drill in a specific type of rock, while their unit is trained to drill in all types of rock and sand.

Workers say the unit's annual budget is about $360,000 a year, which covers salaries and benefits for seven employees.

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