NGWA urges private PA well owners to test water from occurrences of arsenic

Recent occurrences of arsenic in PA well water has reminded private well owners they should test their water regularly.

WESTERVILLE, OHIO, April 30, 2013 -- The occurrence of arsenic in some well water in Pennsylvania is a reminder that private well owners should test their water regularly, the National Ground Water Association said.

"NGWA recommends that private well owners test their water annually for bacteria, nitrate, and anything of local concern, the latter of which could include arsenic for some Pennsylvanians," said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens.

Eight percent of more than 5,000 wells tested across Pennsylvania contain groundwater with levels of arsenic at or above federal standards set for public drinking water, the U.S. Geological Survey announced this month. An additional 12 percent of the wells tested -- though not exceeding standards -- showed elevated levels of arsenic.

These findings, along with maps depicting areas in the state most likely to have elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater, are part of a recently released USGS study done in cooperation with the Pennsylvania departments of Health and Environmental Protection.

NGWA recommends that household water well owners use a certified drinking water testing lab to test their well water. Well owners can find certified labs by contacting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Laboratories, at 717 346.7200.

"Whether arsenic comes from manmade sources or occurs naturally in certain types of geology, as is the case in parts of Pennsylvania, it can be a local concern worth testing for the well owner," said Treyens. Home water treatment technologies are readily available to remove arsenic.

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