Jul 14, 2016

Water Groups Respond to USGS Corrosive Groundwater Study

NGWA, WQA and WSC offer advice & support

corrosive groundwater, well water, lead, USGS study

The National Ground Water Assn. (NGWA), the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) and the Water Systems Council (WSC) responded to recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research results, which found that groundwater in 25 states and the District of Columbia has a high potential for being naturally corrosive.

NGWA issued a call to action to supplement the release of the research results. It urged residential water well users in regions where corrosive water levels have been detected to investigate and determine whether lead is present in their drinking water.

NGWA has been working proactively on this subject:

  • It launched a campaign to encourage well owners to get their water well systems and household plumbing inspected on WellOwner.org, its online resource for private well owners.
  • Thanks to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant, NGWA will be releasing an online education session to further explain its concern and encourage water well system and household plumbing inspections as part of its public awareness effort.
  • It released a lead-related best suggested practice for water well system professionals.
  • It is prepared for an information brief on the topic for residential well owners, the media and other interested parties.
  • Its members can expect additional coverage in the association’s member newsletter, NGWA Toolkit, which will be released July 18.

WQA also responded to the USGS report.

“This is further evidence that homeowners who rely on well water should get their water tested to determine if additional filtration is needed at the point of water entry into their home,” said David Loveday, director of government affairs for WQA.

“The USGS’s report underscores that if pipes in a home contain lead or copper, corrosive water can cause these metals to leach into that home’s water supply. In addition to getting your well water tested, we recommend homeowners consider using a water filter. Past USGS studies have shown that nearly one in five water samples from public, private and monitoring wells in the U.S. contain concentrations of at least one trace element, such as arsenic and uranium.”

Several types of water filters have been certified by WQA’s Gold Seal program for reducing lead in drinking water, such as pour-through pitchers/carafes, faucet mounts, countertop filters connected to a sink faucet or filters attached to the point of entry into a home. Many of these are available at local retailers. To view a searchable database of all product certification listings, visit www.wqa.org/find-products#/.

Accurate testing requires the expertise of a certified water testing laboratory. Homeowners may check with WQA at www.wqa.org to find a water quality professional or connect with a certified testing lab through EPA.

WSC recognized that the USGS survey serves as a reminder that testing and properly maintaining private wells is important to ensure clean, safe drinking water.

The organization has provided 100 free wellcare information sheets on well testing and maintenance available to consumers on its website and has produced a new Well Owners Manual, which is now available for free to well owners across the U.S. 

The 32-page manual includes sections on water well systems, well maintenance, selecting a well contractor, protecting your wellhead, water well testing and understanding water well test results. The manual also includes a well owner's checklist and information on the wellcare Hotline, a free hotline that provides advice on protecting, maintaining, testing and conserving drinking well water supplies. It is available at 888.395.1033 or www.wellcarehotline.org.

In addition, each manual comes with a free membership offer for the wellcare Well Owners Network, which provides members with quarterly newsletters featuring tips and tools on caring for well systems, septic systems and well water as well as discounts on water test kits. Launched in 2009, the wellcare Well Owners Network has more than 10,000 members nationwide.

"WSC is committed to ensuring that Americans who depend on water wells have safe, reliable drinking water," said Steve Anderson, president of WSC. "Well owners with lead pipes in regions with the potential for corrosive groundwater should definitely be testing for and treating their drinking water. We urge these well owners to contact a water well system professional in your area to inspect your well system for any potential contaminants, including lead."