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Well water watch
Posted By Staff On May 26, 2010 @ 12:55 pm In Online Exclusives | No Comments
By Jeff Larson
As a result of this year’s heavy snowfall throughout the region, the frequency and severity of flash floods are expected to increase this spring. “Spring runoff” is a term used to describe the influx of contaminants leeching into water systems after snow melts as the temperature rises during March and April.
→ These floods should be of particular concern to residents using private wells, given the vulnerability of wells during this period.
→ The 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act, which regulates all drinking water systems, does not apply to private wells serving less than 25 people. Therefore, the responsibility falls on the individual to have his/her well water tested.
→ Bacterial contamination may provide the greatest threat to private well users. Ultraviolet sterilizers and chlorine treatments are examples of proven techniques used to fight contaminants such as E. Coli.
→ Nitrates are a very common issue, and should be tested for regularly. With no taste or smell, nitrates can have adverse health effects if unchecked in your water. Infants, for example, cannot safely absorb nitrates because their stomach acid is not strong enough to convert it.
→ Other common contaminants include: arsenic, fertilizers, pesticides, as well as other agricultural chemicals like the highly-publicized herbicide Atrazine.
→ Overall, water contamination affects children more powerfully than adults. In fact, a recent issue of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urged people to test private wells, since different bacteria and contaminants can be very harmful to children.
→ “Drinking water for roughly one-sixth of U.S. households comes from private wells, of which there is little regulation. With proper care, well water is extremely safe. However, these wells can become contaminated by chemicals or pathogenic organism.”—AAP
Water experts suggest well water users have their water tested at least once a year for contamination, and urge proactive measures to keep you and your family safe during this year’s spring runoff.
Q: Why is it so important to test your water every year?
Larson: Because of the natural cycle of water dissolving a little of all it touches, the spring runoff is a time that can introduce contaminates like nitrates and bacteria to the water table. The health department is a fine place to have this service done. Third-party validation and the cost are the lowest.
Q. What are the common issues with Rockford-area well water?
Larson: Because of the farm land so close to the area, nitrates are common, and having septic tanks perking into the ground with no way of controlling the path or direction of flow–these would be important reasons to have a test done annually at the health department. Call them for sample bottles and directions.
Jeff Larson is the Culligan dealer at Rock Valley Culligan.
From the May 26-June 1, 2010 issue
Article printed from The Rock River Times: http://rockrivertimes.com
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