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Arsenic found in Charlotte County well water

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Arsenic found in Charlotte County well water

By Matt Grant. CREATED Apr 26, 2013

PUNTA GORDA - Charlotte County residents are on edge after tests confirmed dangerously high levels of arsenic in their drinking water.

"I wasn't very pleased when I found this out," said Ryan Rowe, who lives near Edmund Street in Punta Gorda.

Rowe just found out his neighbor's well tested positive for arsenic in January. Tests done by the state show unacceptable levels of arsenic in the water.

In a letter sent by the health department, the neighbor is told: "We recommend that your water supply not be used for drinking purposes for a prolonged period of time."

Rowe, who lives a few houses down with his wife and young kids, was told about the arsenic by his neighbor after he finished installing a $5000 well.

"It would have been nice had I received a letter or something," said Rowe.


"It's horrible," said his wife, Dawn. "I have two small kids. One of them is three, she tries to drink the water."

The state installed a filtration system at their neighbor's home two years ago, which documents show lowered the arsenic to an acceptable level.

Still, at least two neighbors are showing their disgust with hand-made signs saying their water is contaminated with arsenic and lead.

Fox 4 went to the Florida Department of Health of Charlotte County for answers.

"How many people could be affected?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"That I couldn't tell you," said Karl Henry. "It depends how many people are living in that area...I wouldn't say everyone but some people could be affected."

Henry says the state has been testing water levels here periodically in a quarter mile radius. Rowe tells us his water was never checked.

"Is it acceptable that someone two doors down would not know about this?," asked Grant.

"It could happen if it didn't fall within the range we're looking at," said Rowe.

Rowe doesn't know if his water is good to drink or not. For now, he's not taking any chances buying jugs of bottled water.

The state says anyone with concerns can call but Rowe says he never would have known to do that if not for his neighbor. 

"In terms of having the resources of informing everyone at this particular time I don't know we have that kind of funding to inform everyone about the contamination," said Henry.

"But we're talking about unsafe levels of arsenic that could potentially harm people don't you have a responsibility to notify everybody," asked Grant.

"We have a responsibility to notify everyone in the area," said Henry. "Where we are aware of contamination."

You can call the county health department with testing/contamination questions at (941) 743-1266.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com