(WESTERVILLE, OH — May 11, 2012) Private water well owners should test their water regularly for bacteria, nitrate, and anything of local concern, the National Ground Water Association said today, citing the possibility of arsenic and uranium in some central and northeastern Massachusetts bedrock wells as a local concern.
If well owners find arsenic or uranium at levels that exceed health benchmarks, the substances can be treated effectively, NGWA said.
It was reported this week that only 10 of about 1,500 owners of private wells in Northborough tested their water for arsenic and uranium in response to a letter sent to all residents a year ago by Jamie Terry, board of health agent. Only one of those 10 well owners who did test reported finding a health concern (arsenic above safe levels).
“NGWA has long advised private water well owners nationwide to annually test their water for bacteria, nitrate, and anything of local concern,” said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens. “In some parts of Massachusetts, particularly where wells are in bedrock settings, arsenic and uranium are a local concern worthy of testing.”
Like Terry, NGWA recommends private well owners use certified drinking water testing laboratories. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s MCLs (maximum contaminant levels) for arsenic and uranium in public drinking water are:
Treyens said questions about well construction, maintenance, water testing, and water treatment should be addressed to a qualified water well system professional. Technologies available that can easily treat naturally occurring arsenic and uranium in well water to safe levels include reverse osmosis and distillation. Anion exchange and specialty resins/media are also good choices for treating arsenic, while cation exchange works for treating uranium.
For more information about groundwater and wells, visit NGWA’s Web site especially for private well owners, www.wellowner.org.
NGWA, a nonprofit organization composed of U.S. and international groundwater professionals — contractors, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, and engineers — is dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge. NGWA’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association that advocates the responsible development, management, and use of water.
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