LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Recent findings of contaminated wells in New York State are making residents ask questions about water quality of private wells, and requesting water tests to determine whether or not their water is safe to drink. According to water purification manufacturers, most private well owners don’t monitor their wells as recommended, and contamination, along with the potential health risks, is becoming more and more commonplace.
According to Phil Jones, Product Manager for VIQUA, a manufacturer of ultraviolet (UV) water purification systems, seven confirmed cases of contamination in private wells in NYS has garnered attention into the water quality of unregulated private wells. Megan Hutchison, Public Relations for VIQUA, said that a Water Systems Council Report found that nearly 40% of households in Livingston County use private wells.
“What we know is that most people assume their water is safe as long as it’s clear and doesn’t smell or taste bad,” said Jones. “But clear water doesn’t mean safe water. You can’t see bacterial contaminants like e.coli, but you definitely don’t want that in your drinking water.”
Jones added that since late August, more than 900 concerned New York State residents have requested complimentary water test kits from VIQUA, which were offered as part of the company’s water quality awareness campaign in the state.
Private wells are the responsibility of the well owner, and are exempt from the 1972 Safe Drinking Water Act, leaving1.9 million residents exposed to contamination due to negligence.
“Residents can hope that their well is safe, regardless of whether or not they regularly test the water and keep the well maintained,” added Jones. “Or they can invest in a water treatment system, like UV, for their home and know their water is safe from bacterial contaminants,”
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends annual tests to ensure water safety. However, without legislation to enforce mandatory testing, residents on private wells need to take responsibility for ensuring their water is safe to drink.
PHOTO CAPTION: Photo from Flickr.com.