ATKINSON, NH (CBS) – It seems a toxic chemical has seeped into the water wells in Atkinson, New Hampshire. Residents are now searching for answers.

The water in David Mitchell’s faucet could give him cancer. It’s a disturbing revelation even his grand-kids know.

“He said ‘I can’t brush my teeth gramps, if I do I’ll get cancer.’ That’s an 8-year-old boy, that’s what he said to me.”

Now he’s using bottled water shipped in by the state of New Hampshire. David owns one of 11 private wells in Atkinson where the state found dangerous levels of a chemical called 1,4 Dioxane.

So how big of a problem is it? The state sets three parts per billion for safe drinking water. Some of the wells in the neighborhood have tested as high as 16, five times the safe limit.

The Durkin family is still waiting for results of their well test. The water might not just be bad for their health, but for their investment.

“There is no property value if the water’s no good,” says Rich Durkin. “Who’s going to buy a house without water?”

At Town Hall, a notice warns residents. Town Administrator Bill Innes says he’s leaning on the state for answers.

“I think it is spreading,” says Innes. “If the chemical gets into the water system, it gets into the bedrock and it’s leeching.”

But until they figure out what’s causing the contamination – no one’s sure how to stop it.


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