Monday, June 22, 2020

Penn State Extension Hosts Wednesday Webinar Series To Discuss Solutions To Drinking Water Problems Starting June 24

By Danielle Rhea, Extension Educator

Millions of Pennsylvanians rely on a private water system as their source of drinking water. Managing private drinking water systems is the homeowner’s responsibility and can be a challenge.
Wells, springs, and even cisterns are used across Pennsylvania as private sources of drinking water. 

Penn State surveys have found that over 70 percent of homeowners with private water systems are satisfied with their drinking water; however, because managing private water supplies is entirely the homeowner’s responsibility, there are also many challenges that come with ensuring safe drinking water.

Numerous factors can impact the quality of our drinking water. As groundwater flows through soil and rock below the ground, it can dissolve the minerals in those geologic formations, which changes the water quality. 

Naturally occurring water issues such as hardness, corrosivity, iron, and manganese are common in different regions of Pennsylvania and are often present simply due to the aquifer’s geology. 

Additionally, land use and human activities can also influence water quality. Mining, agriculture, and other industries as well as roadside dumps and poorly maintained septic systems all have the potential to pollute our groundwater. 

Another major cause of groundwater pollution is improperly constructed wells. 

Pennsylvania does not regulate the construction of private drinking water wells, which means that there is not a statewide standard or requirement to assure sanitary well construction. 

If wells are not properly sealed, they can act as a direct route for transporting pollutants from the land directly into the groundwater.

Impurities in drinking water can sometimes change the water’s color, smell, or taste; however, some pollutants do not change these aesthetic qualities but can still harm our health. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has set limits on contaminants in public drinking water to protect the health of the people drinking that water. While these standards are not a requirement for private systems, we can use them as a guide to ensure safe drinking water for private supplies as well. 

Water treatment is often necessary to meet these standards and luckily, there are many different treatment systems available so that these standards can be achieved. However, no single treatment system is able to treat every water issue, which can make solving water problems even more complex.

Starting June 24 through August 12 on Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m., the Water Webinar Wednesday series will examine many common water problems and solutions Pennsylvania private water supply owners face. The following schedule includes the list of topics that are a part of this series as well as links to the registration pages:

-- June 24Accessing Well and Spring Information Online 

-- July 1Lead and Copper from Corrosive Drinking Water 

-- July 8 Bacteria in Wells and Springs 

-- July 15Iron, Manganese, and Hydrogen Sulfide in Wells 

-- July 22Roadside and Household Spring Water Issues 

-- July 29Nitrates in Private Water Supplies 

-- August 5 Water Treatment Processes for Household Drinking Water 

-- August 12Ask the Experts About Drinking Water 

These live webinars are free to attend, but registration is required. Penn State Extension invites you to join us each Wednesday to learn more about the water around us in Pennsylvania.

(Reprinted from the June 22 Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletter. Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

[Posted: June 22, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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