September 15, 2010 - Even if tap water is clear, there is a significant chance that it could harbor dangerous — sometimes even deadly — contaminants.
Members of the Gila Watershed Partnership learned about contaminated wells and their threats to the health of people who depend on them during a Sept. 8 meeting. Kristine Uhl-man, program coordinator of the University of Arizona’s Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials, known as NEMO, talked about several contaminants and the importance of testing private wells yearly.
Uhlman said 10 percent to 42 percent of water taps are contaminated with viruses, and 95 percent of small groundwater wells violate one or more of the nation’s drinking water standards.
There are 7,014 drinking water wells in Arizona. These are at risk of contamination from nitrates, fluoride, uranium, arsenic and other substances.
Nitrates come from several sources, including fecal matter, fertilizer and natural occurrence in the soil. The chances for well contamination in Arizona are elevated because not enough rain falls to dilute and disperse the contaminants.