Monday, April 15, 2013

Contaminated Wells Could Spark New Rules


By: Nathan Lamb

Officials from Somers, Connecticut are considering mandatory testing for private wells, after recent samples discovered uranium and arsenic in local drinking water, according to this story from the Journal Inquirer.

The issue came to light when officials tested more than 50 local wells. Town sanitarian Steven Jacobs didn’t give a specific number, but said high levels of contaminants were found in a small percentage of samples.

Arsenic and uranium are thought to have leeched into the water from bedrock, resulting in isolated pockets of contamination.

According the EPA, high levels of uranium can lead to increased cancer risk and/or liver damage. Arsenic—a naturally occurring, odorless and tasteless semi-metal—is linked to increased risk for a variety of cancers.

Two-thirds of the roughly 10,000 residents in Somers are on private wells. Jacobs said the town doesn’t regulate those drinking supplies, but that could change. The town’s Water Pollution and Control Authority recently collaborated with state health and environmental officials to draft an ordinance that would require testing of private wells.

Jacobs said the ordinance is still under development. In the meantime he advised residents with private wells to voluntarily do the testing.

Somers is located roughly 20 miles northeast of Hartford.

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