New Well Water Contamination Statistics Reveal Dangers
by Sara Kuzma-Stump
Suburban Water Testing Labs, the leading testing facility of local water, recently released well water test statistics for samples that were collected and analyzed between January 1st and December 31st of 2012. Private homeowners that voluntarily submitted their well water for laboratory testing showed a bacteria contamination failure rate as high as 1 in 6, or 17%. Of those that tested positive, 1 in 4 had harmful E.coli bacteria present. Other harmful contaminants were also detected, such as lead, arsenic, nitrate and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Such contaminants cause a serious threat to homeowners and their families because you cannot see, taste or smell these contaminants which can cause long term organ damage and have serious cancer risk. “Most people don’t realize that private well water can be harmful,” stated Richard Stump, Laboratory Director. “People believe that private well water is safer than public water, but that isn’t always the case.” Public water suppliers are required to test for these contaminants on a frequent basis to ensure the water is safe, but private well owners are not. Mr. Stump recommends that all private well owners test their wells at least once a year for serious contaminants. Being proactive is key in protecting local families from contaminated water.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), approximately 15% of Americans rely on private water supplies for drinking, and these supplies are not subject to USEPA standards. The USEPA recommends testing private well water at least once per year, and, at times, more than once per year for special circumstances, such as if someone in the household is pregnant or nursing. Water test kits are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from local laboratories fairly easily. The USEPA recommends using a Laboratory that is accredited in your state. This ensures you are getting valid data to identify potential problems. Suburban Water Testing Labs is accredited in PA to perform this testing. Mr. Stump added, “So many folks are focused on living a healthy lifestyle and spend so much of their income on things like organic foods and gym memberships, but forget to pay close attention to the water they drink at home every day.”
The good news is that once contamination is found, it can be treated.