Whether we like it or not, contamination of ground and well water will continue to threaten our health for a long time to come. Today’s bad water news came to us from Connecticut where officials in Stamford have partnered with State health officials to determine the true magnitude of pesticide contamination once considered a localized event.
State and Stamford health officials are urging residents with private wells to get their water tested for pesticides and other possible contaminants.
A study of 628 private wells by the Stamford Health Department found that 195 had some amount of the pesticides Chlordane or Dieldrin. More than half of those 195 had concentrations that put residents who regularly drink the water at a greater risk for health problems, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Joseph Kuntz, a Stamford lab technician, said that when health officials first discovered some well contamination in 2009, they expected it to be localized and due to the nearby Scofield Town Dump. But testing had unexpected results.
Chlordane and Dieldrin were used for termite and other insect extermination in homes and on farms for decades in Connecticut. They were banned in the 1980s, and the EPA now says that exposure to such chemicals over a lifetime, even at trace amounts, can increase the risk of health problems.
“You can’t see it, you can’t taste it and you can’t smell it,” said Bill Warzecha, an environmental analyst at Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “And so except if you test it, you’re not going to know that it’s in there.”
Stamford, where Kuntz estimates that 5,000 households have private wells, is unique in offering lower-cost testing. The city health department contracted with a local laboratory to bring down the cost of a $350 test to just $100. More than 1,700 people have signed up to get their wells tested, and last year the city passed an ordinance requiring 750 wells to be tested each year starting in 2012. ( source )
This unfortunate ground water contamination story does an excellent job of showing how a suspected small water quality issue in one area can quickly turn into a major problem for an entire region and how diligent testing of well water helps health officials get a better handle on the severity of the situation.
To all the residents in Stamford whose water may contain the compounds (Chlordane and Dieldrin) mentioned in this article, we highly suggest taking advantage of the special pricing offered by the local laboratory. Otherwise, as the full article very plainly stated, testing for pesticides such as chlordane and dieldrin could become very costly.
Other pesticide testing options
With the exception of water testing by a certified water testing laboratory, no real options exist for testing chlordane and dieldrin levels in well or drinking water… BUT home water test kits for other pesticides/herbicides like atrazine and simazine do exist
Both atrazine and simazine got used heavily in the agricultural world in the United States for quite some time before scientists and health experts determined that too much of either compound could cause health problems.
Therefore, if you live in an area once designated as agricultural it may prove wise to test your water for atrazine and simazine.
Regular well water testing
While we sincerely wish yearly testing, or even less frequent testing, of well water would ensure the quality of well water, we know better. Shifts in weather patterns (i.e. droughts, heavy rains, etc.) and changes in the demand on an aquifer can radically change the quality of water an aquifer produces — with little or no warning to those whose wells tap into the aquifer.
Do water test kits like the Well Driller Master (or less expensive versions like the Well Water Test Kit, COMPLETE Water Test Kit & SenSafe Water Quality Test Kit) provide ALL the tests required to guarantee the quality of one’s water? No, but their tests can provide key insight into changes in one’s water quality and help one to know when more sophisticated water testing should take place.