Private well owners in Monroe County, NY received some troubling news recently from their local board of health. A number of private wells in the area tested positive for arsenic in a big way.
For those unfamilar with arsenic,
In a nutshell, arsenic in ground water comes from a reaction between certain types of igneous (volcanic) rock and oxygen when a water table (aquifer) drops. That reaction liberates ‘free’ arsenic and once the water table rises again, that ‘free’ arsenic gets carried away by the water.
As for whether or not arsenic in drinking water can harm a person, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has stated that water systems may NOT dispense drinking water with arsenic in concentrations greater than 10 ppb as of January 2006. ( source )
Getting back to the article about high arsenic levels inthe Rochester, NY area, the Democrat and Chronicle published the following article on July 2, 2009:
All private-well owners in Monroe County should test their supply for the toxic metal arsenic, the county health department said this morning.
The department is making the recommendation as a result of the discovery of arsenic in dozens of private wells in west Webster, at levels as much as four times higher than the drinking-water guideline, spokesman John Ricci said.
As the Democrat and Chronicle reported last month, officials are unsure of the source or scope of the contamination, which first came to light last fall. Some affected Webster residents had criticized the county and town governments for not publicizing the problem and reacting more aggressively to it.
The recommendation issued this morning is that each of the 5,000 or so well-owners in the county test their water at least once for arsenic. The health department also is recommending annual testing for coliform bacteria, nitrates, sodium and turbidity.
Those relatively common constituents are what well-owners typically test for on their own. Most well-owners would not have their water tested for arsenic unless warned they should do so, experts have told the Democrat and Chronicle.
There are no state or local laws that require testing of wells in Monroe County.
Private laboratories, as well as the health department, can conduct the tests. The department would charge $115 for all the recommended testing, and $80 for the arsenic work by itself, Ricci said. ( source )
While no form of at-home or field testing of drinking water will ever take the place of drinking water analysis performed by a certified water testing laboratory, the need for quality field arsenic does still exist — and the Arsenic Quick Test Kit fills that need quite well.
Several of the Arsenic Quick Test Kits have had their perfomance and accuracy verifed by the USEPA through the ETV program ( www.epa.gov/etv), testing takes no more than 12 or 13 minutes to complete, the cost per test for some of the Arsenic Quick Test Kits gets below the $10 mark, and detection levels of some kits reach levels far lower than one would expect from a field-ready arsenic test kit.