State environmental officials sampled wells next to an SCE&G coal-fired power plant here Tuesday, two days after The (Charleston) Post and Courier newspaper raised questions about whether coal particles were getting into the area's aquifer.
Residents watched state Department of Health and Environmental Control employees collected samples from five homes dependent on well water. They scooped sediment from the tanks of commodes and collected water from well pump spigots.
Earlier, College of Charleston geology professors examined the particles at the request of the newspaper, which was responding to residents' concerns.
Vijay Vulava, an assistant professor in environmental geochemistry at the college, said he believed the particles likely were coal, but more tests should be done to confirm his results and whether the particles are dangerous to drink.
Officials with SCE&G have challenged the validity of the College of Charleston tests, but said if, "we discovered a problem tied to the operation of our plant, we would certainly address it as appropriate."