Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Private Water Supply Study Completed In 6 Counties By Master Well Owner Network: 48% Failed Health-Based Standards

By Bryan Swistock, Penn State Extension 


Penn State Extension and the Master Well Owner Network (MWON) recently completed work on a project funded by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and the U.S. EPA that tested private water supplies in six counties.  

Of the 241 water supplies tested, 83 percent were drilled wells, 3 percent were hand-dug wells, 1 percent were cisterns, and 13 percent were springs.

Most of the 241 water supplies failed to meet drinking water standards with 72 percent failing at least one aesthetic standard and 48 percent failing at least one health-based standard.

One interesting result from the study was that both lead and copper were common in first-draw samples but not present in running water samples.  This confirmed that corrosion of metal plumbing was the source of 100 percent of the copper and lead results that exceeded the drinking water standards.

A follow-up evaluation was emailed to all 241 households in May 2021 (5 to 21 months after the water testing occurred in each county) to determine if water supply owners had acted to better manage their drinking water.  

The 90 households that responded provided the following results:

-- 62 percent acted to improve their drinking water by moving polluting activities, installing water treatment, installing a sanitary well cap, shock disinfecting their water, or re-directing surface water contamination away from their well or spring.

-- 59 percent did additional research on their water supply including obtaining a copy of their well completion report or visiting the Extension drinking water website.

-- 47 percent educated others by talking with neighbors, family, friends, or co-workers about what they learned during this program.

-- 49 percent saved money (beyond the free water test) by avoiding unnecessary water treatment equipment, avoiding medical costs from health-related pollutants, or by learning about the most efficient treatment system for their water supply.

Thanks to all MWON volunteers and Extension staff who helped with this project. A similar RCAP-funded project will start this fall in Indiana, Huntingdon, and Mercer counties. 

Click Here for the complete article with sample results.


(Reprinted from the latest Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.)

Related Articles:

-- At The Side Of Spring Creek In Dauphin County: An Introduction

-- Don't Let Your Property Go Down The Stream...  Streamscape!

-- Extension: What To Do If You Think Your Well Is Contaminated With Giardia

-- Extension: Sanitary Well Caps

-- Penn State Extension - September 7 - Backyard Stream Repair Webinar 2:00 p.m.

-- Penn State Extension - August 4, 25, Sept. 15 - Addressing Nuisance Aquatic Plant And Algae Problems Through Pond Water Quality Testing Webinars. Various times.

[Posted: July 21, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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