Apr 23, 2013

Report Finds 20% of Pennsylvania Wells Face High Arsenic

USGS study signals need for well owners to test, protect water

Water Quality Assn. USGS Study Pennsylvania Water Wells Arsenic Levels

A report released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) showing that one in five private wells in Pennsylvania faces elevated arsenic levels, offered powerful incentive to test and ensure treatment, according to the Water Quality Assn (WQA).

According to USGS, “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, while an additional 12% — though not exceeding standards — show elevated levels,” said Dave Haataja, executive director of WQA.

The results highlight the importance of private well owners “testing and potentially treating their water,” USGS stated. While public water supplies are treated to ensure that water reaching the taps of households meets federal drinking water standards, private wells are unregulated in Pennsylvania, and owners are responsible for testing and treating their own water, the agency noted.

Arsenic is a potentially harmful and even fatal contaminant that can cause damage with immediate consumption or over the long term. Treatment options include reverse osmosis systems, specialty media and distillation systems.