Private Well Owner Outreach to Private Property Owners Association in the Poconos – Monroe County

The Keystone Clean Water Team was very happy to work with the local “Poconos Region” Property Owners Association to offer a private well water screening test for the residents drinking water.  For the 2016 program, a total of 16 residents participated in the program and for this program water testing was offered at two different tiers.  The basic tier provide general information related to the bacterial quality of the water and level of nitrate, iron, and total hardness.  The advanced tier provided testing for trace metals such as arsenic, copper, lead, zinc, and more comprehensive analysis of the overall quality of the water.  The following is a summary of the results:

2 samples were positive for total coliform bacteria, but no samples were positive for E. coli.;

1 sample exceeded the drinking water standard for lead and 5 other samples had detectable levels of lead in the water;

13 of the 16 samples contained detectable levels of nitrate, but at no point did the level exceed or approach the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L;

1 sample had elevated levels of manganese, but 3 had detectable levels of manganese in the water; and

15 of the 16 samples were considered slightly to corrosive to metal piping and 1 sample was considered very corrosive to metal piping.

The pH of the water ranged for 6.2 to 7.5 and only two samples had a pH that was less than the recommended drinking water standard of 6.5.  These samples were associated with water that had detectable levels of lead, but not the highest level of lead.  The sample with the highest level of lead appeared to be a sample collected at the kitchen sink after the water had been treated with a water softener.

From this snapshot, we learned the following:

  1. There appears to be a 13 % probability that a private well may contain total coliform bacteria.
  2. The water produced from the aquifer tends to be slightly corrosive and have total hardness that ranges from 30 to 150 mg/L.
  3. The groundwater does not appear to have elevated levels of nitrate.
  4. The groundwater does not appear to have E. coli. bacteria.
  5. Lead was detected in some water samples, but the occurrence in the well water is related to the corrosiveness of the water, type of water treatment, and type of plumbing fixtures in the home and not the groundwater aquifer.
  6. Homeowners that reported problems with sulfur odor or black particles were the same homeowners that had elevated or detectable level of manganese.
  7. If you are considering the use of a water softener, please consider the type of household plumbing and it may be necessary to install a neutralizing filter.

Based on these results, we recommend that all private well owners conduct an annual water quality test.  To facilitate this effort, the Keystone Clean Water Team offers an online mail order informational water testing program for private well owners throughout the USA and we offer our Know Your H20? Free Phone App. To learn about our mail order program, please visit us at http://www.water-research.net or http://www.knowyourh20.us.   If you have any questions, please call or email 570-335-1947 or bfenviro@ptd.net.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Mr. Brian Oram, PG

 

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