The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a national research project which monitored private wells for two dozen trace elements and found that 13 percent of untreated drinking water contains at least one element at a concentration that exceeds federal heath regulations.
I came across this statement and other supporting findings in the following article, “It’s elemental: Many private wells across the U.S. are contaminated with arsenic and other elements”
Here are some highlights from the the study. ( The geologists tested more thn 5,000 wells in 40 aquifers for 23 elements.) Disclaimer – I tried to find more specific results from this study and was not able to get specific results. I think these summary statements do highlight some concerns in certain parts of the counry.
- Drier regions of the country, mostly in the West had more wells with excessive trace elements than humid regions and urban areas had more than agricultural regions.
- Overall 19 percent of the 5,183 untreated public, private and monitoring wells exceeded the health based values.
- Manganese was more prevalent in the Eastern part of the United States.
- High arsenic values were found in the eastern states of Maine, New Hampshire,and Massachusetts
- Other areas with high arsenic values in the west were Sacramento and Los Angeles regions of California, Western Nevada, Phoenix, Texas Panhandle and New Mexico
- In the midwest high arsenic values were found in Illinois and Ohio
- In Nebraska, along the Platte River, high levels of uranium were found
- In California, high levels of boron were found.
As David Wunsch, Director fo Science and Technology at the NGWA states, private well water is not regulated like public water supply. It is up to the homeowner to take care of his/her testing to determine if their private well water is safe for drinking.
Testing for elements like arsenic, uranium, manganese, radon, chromium, cadmium, boron, barium, lithium, nitrateand lead would also be helpful in determining different trace metals present in your water.
A popular test with water owners is the Domestic Suitability Test – $54.00 – This Water Test Package reports back levels in the areas of Total Coliform, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, pH, Total Hardness, Conductivity, Total Dissolved Solids, Nitrate Nitrogen, Iron, Manganese, Sulfate, Cloride and Flouride.
If you are interested in finding out more about the specific elements mentioned in this post, please talk to one of our environmental client services staff to find out more about analysis, proper water sampling techniques and supplies needed for private well testing.
Picture G & A Satler