Areas affected by drinking water contamination where the majority of homeowners have their own private wells face a unique set of circumstances. Why? Quite simply, the law states that owners of private well owners bear sole responsibility for the quality of the water produced by their respective wells.
Accordingly, any testing deemed necessary — for ANY reason — gets done at the sole discretion of the well owners… typically at the EXPENSE of the well owners.
Your well, your water, your problem, right? Not when the government wants information about aquifer contamination in the area.
In cases where health officials suspect widespread contamination of the aquifers feeding local residents’ wells, and they want to figure out the extent of contamination and/or where the contaminants came from, a disagreement over who should pay for residents’ private wells to get tested will definitely occur.
Experts will want the testing done in a scientific, methodical manner — so that any results obtained can get admitted as evidence in a court of law, if needed — and that would mean a whole lot of testing done by certified water testing labs.
Testing of ANY kind costs money… and since the government wants the testing done, some feel the government should foot the bill.
But, um, wait… The government gets its money from taxes — which we, the people, pay each and every day. So… if a person opts NOT to participate in the testing, why should they have to pay for the testing through their taxes?
Residents of Stamford, CT have a situation very similar, if not totally identical to the one described above going on in their community right now.
STAMFORD — City officials are considering passing an ordinance that would subsidize well water testing for Stamford residents in another effort to determine the origin and extent of pesticide contamination in North Stamford.
The proposed ordinance, which is in its infancy, would require the city to provide residential well water testing for homeowners upon request, said Board of Representatives president Randy Skigen, D-19. Residents would be asked to contribute $100 towards testing costs; the city would pay the difference.
City officials are hoping subsidizing testing will help shed light on the extent of residential well contamination in North Stamford, Skigen said. In order to receive the subsidy, residents must agree to share their test results with the city. ( source )
In the end, though, the responsibility for private well water testing will almost always remain in the hands of the well owner. We suspect that if a private well owner refused to participate in Stamford’s testing program, no Court could compel them to change their mind.
The testing needs to get done. Period. Something has contaminated the water and someone needs to figure out the identity of that source.
We wish you the best of luck, Stamford, as you attempt to figure out the source of your well water troubles.
Please share with the rest of us how you sort out the matter of who will pay for the testing… when you finally figure it out.
And for well owners elsewhere…
The quality of your well water changes all the time, though in most instances you would never notice or know that it had changed. Most changes mean nothing when it comes to the health of those who drink the water, but every once in a while a change will occur that goes unnoticed… and can have adverse effects on people.