A new study by the Delta County Health Department (DCHD) and University of Colorado discovered thousands of Colorado residents are drinking water contaminated with arsenic.
The Delta County Health Department (DCHD) partnered with the University of Colorado to study water quality in private wells.
The study analyzed 457 wells, 11% of which had arsenic concentrations above the water standard maximum contaminant level. 15% of the well water tested exceeded at least one primary drinking water contaminant state standard, according to the findings.
The state and EPA standard for arsenic are the same, according to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center.
There was a significant lack of information readily available to the public about the quality of water in around 10,000 private drinking water wells, according to 9 News. 60% of the population in this area drink water from private wells that aren't regulated because they're privately owned.
"We were concerned," said Ken Nordstrom, department director of DCHD, "We had no knowledge on the western slope of private drinking water quality."
Not all owners are routinely testing their wells for a number of reasons, particularly because testing costs around $250 a well. Filtration and contaminant removal can cost about $1,000.
Considering the wells are privately owned, the county can only tell the owners there is an issue with the water, but can't force them to actually fix it.
Holly Miller, who recently completed a master’s degree in the Environmental Engineering Program at CU Boulder, created an interactive map so people can see which wells test higher for contamination. The site shows locations for all the tested wells and provides resources to request free testing kits.