MARYVILLE – A cautionary advisory has been issued in regards to the use of potable well water for certain areas in Blount County after a toxic chemical was found in the water.
City officials advised residents within the area to refrain from using well water after a sample taken within 350 feet of the July 2 train derailment, tested positive for a small amount of acrylonitrile. This toxic chemical was inside of the single-tank CSX train that derailed and caught on fire. Thousands of families within a two mile radius evacuated the area.
The advisory was issued for the area between Mount Tabor Road, Old Glory Road, West Lamar Alexander Parkway and Robert C. Jackson Drive.
“I cook with it, I bathe with it. We wash our clothes,” said Heather Breazeale.
She is trying to adjust to using water bottles instead of well water.
“It’s scary because its the only water we have,” she added.
Breazeale, her husband and two children live about half a mile from the derailment site.
“It’s not the short term we’re worried about. It’s the long term,” she said. “What could happen five or six years from now and being exposed to the water when it’s contaminated.”
The city of Maryville strongly encourages all residents with wells to allow officials to test the water.
Breazeale’s name is on the list.
“We never had to worry about anything like this before,” she said.
As a result of the one contaminated well, Breazeale has requested to have her well looked at by officials. For now, she does have concerns.
“Our question is how did they go about testing each individual well in the area,” she asked.
CSX says 46 wells have been tested, and results are back on half. Only one tested positive for acrylonitrile.
They’re closely watching the area near the one contaminated well and even though Brazeale isn’t too far from that well, she isn’t taking any chances until she gets her results back about whether her well water is safe.
“Currently we are not using the water,” she said. “Since this is our first day with us dealing with this, as far as bathing goes, we have not figured that out yet. I really don’t feel safe using the shower.”
The Environmental Protection Agency said monitoring and oversight operations are shifting to the Tennessee Department
TDEC said it will be collecting its own samples from wells in the area.
Individuals requiring further information or instructions regarding well water testing should contact GHD – Environmental Consultants, which can be reached at (866) 812-9565 or visit the Community Outreach Center at Heritage Middle School.