Bacterial contamination in private water wells send thousands of people hurling to the ER

“It may not have been bad shrimp or dirty lettuce that kept you up all night. A recent study shows that in North Carolina, microbes in drinking water from private wells are responsible for estimated 29,200 emergency room visits for acute GI illnesses each year. That number accounts for nearly all visits of that type and cause.

This is a particularly serious problem in North Carolina, where more than a third of all residents — 3.3 million — rely on private wells for their drinking water. These wells, which can source their water from beneath the ground, a spring or a river, are largely unregulated.

(This is why contaminants from coal ash, such as arsenic, lead and chromium 6, which have even more harmful long-term health effects, are of such concern — and why widespread testing is necessary.)

An article in this month’s Environmental Health Perspectives — among its co-authors is Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson of UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health — concludes that people on private wells are more likely to get sick from their water than those on community systems, such as municipal utilities.

enviro-health-perspectives-drinking-water

From the Study

The presence of total coliforms in groundwater indicates that microorganisms from surface water have been able to reach the aquifer and a more rigorous monitoring should begin for other microorganisms (pathogenic) which might also reach the aquifer. When fecal indicators are detected, anything can happen, and will happen, with potential serious public health implications.”

 

To learn or read more – Go to  Article

More importantly to Act Now and Get Your Water Tested.

Monitoring your homes health and the hazards in your community.

 

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Glyphosate Herbicide in Drinking Water Roundup

“Glyphosate is an herbicide that is regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It is an ingredient in Roundup, a widely used herbicide, as well as more than 700 other products for sale in the United States.  Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide used on many food and non-food crops as well as non-crop areas such as roadsides. When applied at lower rates, it serves as a plant growth regulator. The most common uses include control of broadleaf weeds and grasses hay/pasture, soybeans, field corn; ornamental, lawns, turf, forest plantings, greenhouses, and rights-of-way.

Some people who drink water containing glyphosate well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience problems with their kidneys or reproductive difficulties.  This health effects language is not intended to catalog all possible health effects for glyphosate. Rather, it is intended to inform consumers of some of the possible health effects associated with glyphosate in drinking water when the rule was finalized. In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks and exposure over a lifetime with an adequate margin of safety, are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG). Contaminants are any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substances or matter in water.

The MCLG for glyphosate is 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb. EPA has set this level of protection based on the best available science to prevent potential health problems. EPA has set an enforceable regulation for glyphosate, called a maximum contaminant level (MCL), at 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb. MCLs are set as close to the health goals as possible, considering cost, benefits and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies. In this case, the MCL equals the MCLG, because analytical methods or treatment technology do not pose any limitation.

The Phase V Rule, the regulation for glyphosate, became effective in 1994. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to periodically review the national primary drinking water regulation for each contaminant and revise the regulation, if appropriate. EPA reviewed glyphosate as part of the Six Year Review and determined that the 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb MCLG and 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb MCL for glyphosate are still protective of human health.” (EPA 2015)

While the United States classified glyphosate as non-carcinogenic when it was last reviewed in 1993, the World Health Organization published a study in March 2015 that indicates glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. Since the new study was released, there have been many questions asked regarding the safety of glyphosate. According to The Ecologist (June 12, 2015), several countries have banned or restricted use of the weed killer, including France, Columbia, Sri Lanka and El Salvador. In addition, many garden centers across the globe are pulling products that contain glyphosate off their shelves as a precautionary measure to protect customers. However, Roundup remains a staple herbicide in the United States.

Testing for glyphosate previously may have been cost prohibitive for many homeowners.  We have partnered with a national testing laboratory to provide a cost-effective alternative that also includes trace metals, volatile organics, and other organic chemicals.   For more information, please visit our Testing Testing and Evalatuion Protal but National Testing Laboratories (NTL) now offers a lower-cost test for detecting glyphosate in drinking water. Typical analysis by EPA-approved methods can cost $200 to $400, but the new package offers a much lower price to both water treatment professionals and homeowners.

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B.F. Environmental Partners with Keystone Clean Water Team to Share Environmental Data

WILKES-BARRE, PA—September 25, 2015—B.F. Environmental Consultants, an environmental consulting firm providing a range of services throughout the Northeast, announced today that it will begin making detailed environmental risk reports available to consumers through its partnership with Keystone Clean Water Team, a Pennsylvania-based non-profit. The new program has been launched.  The program provides detailed information regarding existing and historic environmental hazards in communities across the country.

“A great deal of environmental risk data is available today but little if any of it is being made available to consumers,” said Brian Oram, a professional geologist and soil scientist and founder of B.F. Environmental Consultants. “By working with the Keystone Clean Water Team, we’re able to share this information with homeowners so that they will know what dangers are lurking in their neighborhoods and have some idea about what they can do about them.”

As part of the program, B.F. Environmental works with a national environmental database search company to identify possible sources of environmental contamination and then augments that data with information from its proprietary information sources, including its Know Your H2O? app and its online Water Research Center. The reports available to consumers provide a snapshot of the current and historic environmental concerns and hazards that might impact a property as well as a review of select criminal activity.

“The combination of the mobile app, customized reports, research reports, and water testing services will help citizens identify the environmental hazards present in their communities and help them address concerns they have about their city water, well water, or local stream water quality,” Oram said. “We are very proud to link these programs to help identify the little known hazards that affect consumers, identify the possible causes for water quality issues and provide assistance in diagnosing problems.”  “If you act quickly you can request a free report- We are offering 500+ free reports – Learn More Here“.

About B.F. Environmental Consultants, Inc.

B.F. Environmental Consultants, based in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Poconos, has been providing professional geological, soils, hydrogeological, and environmental consulting services since 1985. The company specializes in the following areas: hydrogeological and wastewater evaluations for siting land-based wastewater disposal systems; soils consulting (soil scientists), environmental monitoring, overseeing the siting, exploration, and development of community/ commercial water supply sources; environmental training/ professional training courses, and other environmental services. For more information about B.F. Environmental Consultants, visit www.bfenvironmental.com and www.water-research.net.

Get Your Community Hazard Report
Download the Free Phone Apps
Know Your H20?  Drinking Water Diagnostic
Baseline Water Testing App – Pennsylvania

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Big Bass Lake Presentation on Well Water Poconos Monroe Wayne County Pennsylvania

Not Regulated - Users Need Help

Not Regulated – Users Need Help – Mission of the Keystone Clean Water Team

The Keystone Clean Water Team was invited to Big Bass Lake to discuss groundwater and private well issues with the Association. Great event and a beautiful community in the Poconos in Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania.  The presenter was board member and manager Mr. Brian Oram from B.F. Environmental Consultants, Inc.  During the presentation, we discussed:

a. Need for private well owners to be proactive.
b. The connection between groundwater and surface water.
c. Private well water testing – common problems and basic solutions.
d. The real hazards in a community may include other private wells.
e. Introduced the Know Your H2O?  Program

Very solid Event.  A Private Well Owner Presentation is available for review.

Supportive Links

Our Educational Booklet on Drinking Water
Know Your H2O? Program
OuR PSAs on Water
Why Should I Test My Well Water?
Mail Order Water Testing Program
Get Your Community Hazard Report for Real Estate Properties (USA Search- Custom Reports).

Most Common Questions

1. How to Shock Disinfect a Well?
2. Where do I get sanitizing tablets?  (Follow link or check with local well drilling contractor)
3. Is radon in water an issue?  Maybe – get more information, but first priority is to get the radon level check and run a long-term radon test.  Radon by zip code (PA).
4. Red water – is the only solution a water softener?
5. My water is great but it turns blue and tastes metallic?
6. My water stinks. What is up?

7. I have a bacteria problem – do i need to install a UV system and spend $ 1500.00.  Maybe- but first you should do the following:
a. Inspect the wellhead or top of the well – Is the casing above grade or below.  If below grade, it would be advisable to hirer a well drilling contract to extend the casing at least 18 inches above grade.
b. Does water sit near the wellhead? – if so – divert the water.
c. Do you have a sanitary well cap?  No sure – this is a sanitary well cap.   Do you have one?  If not install one.
d. Shock disinfect well and distribution system – see link above with video.
e. Retest – you may need to shock disinfect twice.  Example – See Case # 3

Sanitary Well Cap

Sanitary Well Cap

 

Interested in a Community Based Educational Water Testing program for Big Bass Lake – Contact us.

We could use your help – Here is How.

Iron, Manganese, Iron Bacteria, Slime Bacteria - Get Water Tested

Iron, Manganese, Iron Bacteria, Slime Bacteria – Get Water Tested !

Big Bass Lake Community Association is not just another Pocono Mountain Resort. We are an award winning and Gold Star Certified premier Community located in the Pocono Mountains.

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Get Your Private Well Water Tested Help Protect Groundwater Quality

For 2015, the Keystone Clean Water Team is making sure we inform all visitors about two unique programs.

Program 1 – Informational Water Testing

The Keystone Clean Water Team has partnered with a National Water Testing Laboratory and offering drinking water testing for private well owners.  A proceeds is donated to the Keystone Clean Water Team.  In addition, the Keystone Clean Water Team has agreed to provide a review of the results, send out a copy of our educational booklet on drinking water quality, and become a supporter of the organization for all individuals that have the testing completed and submit a copy of the testing to us to review .  To order the sampling kit and have it mailed to your home – Visit Our Customized Water Test Kit Portal.    After you get your results, please email a copy of the results will your full mailing address to cleanwater@carbonwaters.org.

Program 2 – Citizens Groundwater and Surface Water Database for Pennsylvania

To help track baseline quality and water quality change in Pennsylvania.  The Keystone Clean Water Team is helping with compiling data for the Citizens Groundwater and Surface Water Database.  This database started in 2009 in Columbia and Luzerne County, Pennsylvania and has been expanded to cover Pennsylvania.  This database will contain only certified pre-drilling and post-drilling certified water quality testing form individual private well owners.  To participate in this program, Please Visit this Webportal.  For your participation in the database, you will have a confidential report prepared by a licensed professional geologist and will obtain a copy of our education booklet on drinking water.

Everything we do began with an idea.

We have offered “Free” Assistance to this effort, but if you are a private well owner that needs assistance we are happy to help.

We realize your time is precious and the world is hectic. CCGG’s volunteers do only what they’re comfortable with. It can be a little or a lot.  Get YOUR WATER Tested – Discounted Screening Tests !

For more information, please go to CCGG’s About Page or contact us.  Follow us on Twitter 

Keystone Clean Water Team is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.    Unsolicited donations are appreciated (Helps us complete our mission), but we also do local educational workshops and local cellphone/small electronic recycling programs. If you would like to set up a program to help recycle cellphones at an event, business, or other organization.  Through our program we can recycle  cell phones, iPods, game systems, and small digital cameras.  If your interested, please contact us.

Help the Organization and Get Your Water Tested or Order the Private Well Owner Guide (proceeds benefit This Organization).  Keystone Clean Water Team!

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How to Clean Out a Private Well – Suspected of PCB Oil Contamination- From Well Pump

How to Clean Out a Private Well – Suspected of PCB Oil Contamination

This post was developed following a private well owner outreach program in Pennsylvania.  Where the homeowner suspected this was a problem.

Prior to the 1978 ban most of the well pumps used a PCB capacitor.    After 1978, the capacitors were required to be marked at the time of manufactured to state that the did not contain PCB, i.e., “No PCBs”. In some cases the the PCB capacitors would leak the PCB (oil coolant) into the motor.  If the motor or motor seal fail, the coolant would leak into the well.   This would introduce PCBs to your water.  When the water is heated, vapors would be generated or you may observe an oil residue or film.  Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of manufactured organic chemicals that contain 209 individual chlorinated chemicals (known as congeners). Concentrated PCBs are either oily liquids or solids and are colorless to light yellow in color. They have no known smell or taste. “PCBs are not very water-soluble so it is quite rare for them to be found in groundwater. Some submersible pumps found in private wells have been recalled because PCB containing oils had been used in their manufacture. When these pumps fail these oils can leak out into the drinking water. ”  The available data suggests that  PCBs are probable human carcinogens and can suppress the immune system.

“The procedure for cleaning a well and plumbing contaminated with PCB oil is essentially the same as for “clean” oil with the exception of certain requirements concerning storage and disposal explained later in this document. The professional servicing the well should follow the procedure outlined here:

Step 1 Remove the failed pump from the well. Place it into a DOT-approved 55-gallon drum for disposal. Allow water within the well to remain still for a least 24 hours.

Step 2 Remove all free floating oil from the surface of the water in the well using a bailer and/or oil absorbent pad or boom. Place it into the drum with the pump.

Step 3 Make certain that there is no floating oil layer in any plumbing fixtures such as water heater or toilet. If there is, remove with oil absorbent pad.

Step 4 Put approximately 8 ounces of dishwashing liquid per 100 gallons of well volume into the well. (Assume 1.5 gallons/ft. of water for a 6″ diameter will and 53 gallons/ft. for a 36″ diameter well.) Detergent should be pre-mixed in a little hot water to be sure that it creates the maximum suds.

Step 5 Recirculate the well water using a garden or other hose connected to a hose bib while running the water back into the well. Allow it to agitate for 1 hour. In the case of a low yielding well or during a period of drought, be sure to take precautions not to run the well dry. The length of time for agitation may need to be reduced in some cases. Place the hose into the drum for disposal when finished.

Step 6 Wash down the sides of the well with a clean or new garden hose, preferably equipped with a pressure nozzle.

Step 7 If household plumbing has not been contaminated, skip step 7 and proceed to step 8. If household plumbing is also contaminated, run the soapy well water through the plumbing system for 3-4 hours, until it is no longer soapy. This can be accomplished by running all the faucets (not so long that the well runs dry) and periodically flushing the toilets. Run both hot and cold faucets so that the hot water heater is cleaned as well. If after step 7 water still runs soapy, turn off faucets and proceed to step 8.

Step 8 Pump soapy water directly from the well to a municipal sewer, or if not available, run a hose so that the water may be discharged directly to the septic tank.

Step 9 Obtain a water sample directly from the well then properly seal the well (i.e. chlorination, etc.). Also, a sample should be collected from a household tap.

Step 10 Run empty loads in both the dishwasher and washing machine using only the normal soap for each.

The homeowner should submit the water samples to a laboratory for PCB analysis to confirm the success of the cleaning and the safety of their water. They must also contact a permitted transporter to arrange for proper disposal of the drum of PCB waste.

Source of the protocol:
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Bureau of Materials Management and Compliance Assurance
PCB Program
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106-5127″

“Protocol posted for informational purposes – it is critical for the homeowner to hire an expert to assist with this work”. This is not a DIY – Do it Yourself Project.

 

Low cost PCB screening Test– includes metal, other organics, and general water quality.

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Arsenic in Drinking Water and Private Wells

What is arsenic?

Arsenic is a semi-metal, a member of the nitrogen family. It occurs naturally in the earth and in the seas. It is odorless and tasteless. Arsenic is an element (As) that occurs in the earth’s crust-rock, soil, all natural sources of exposure, or can be traced to deep water brines used to produce oil and natural gas.    Consumption of food and water are the major sources of arsenic exposure for the majority of US citizens.  People may also be exposed from industrial sources, as arsenic is used in semiconductor manufacturing, petroleum refining, wood preservatives, animal feed additives, and herbicides.

Arsenic can combine with other elements to form inorganic and organic arsenicals. In general, inorganic derivatives are regarded as more toxic than the organic forms. While food contains both inorganic and organic arsenicals, primarily inorganic forms are present in water. Exposure to arsenic at high levels poses serious health effects as it is a known human carcinogen. In addition, it has been reported to affect the vascular system in humans and has been associated with the development of diabetes.

As compared to the Western part of the United States,  it is relatively rare  contaminant in Pennsylvania groundwater supplies.  A recent survey by the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) found that arsenic exceeded 5 ppb in 8% of wells in Pennsylvania.  Recent work in Northeastern Pennsylvania – Indicates that it that the occurrence may be slightly higher.

What are the symptoms of arsenic poisoning?

Observable symptoms of arsenic poisoning are: thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet, partial paralysis, and blindness.

How does arsenic enter my private water system?

It is widely thought that naturally occurring arsenic dissolves out of certain rock formations when ground water levels drop significantly. Surface arsenic-related pollutants enter the ground water system by gradually moving with the flow of ground water from rains, melting of snow, etc. Either way, ongoing testing for arsenic is an important strategy by the private water system owner to safeguard the health and well being of their family.

Is my private well at risk?

Like many contaminants in drinking water, the element is potentially hazardous at levels or concentrations that do not impart a noticeable taste, odor, or appearance to the water.  Your best course of action is to get you water tested and compile as much information as possible about your water supply source, well construction, surrounding land-use, and local geology. If you do have an arsenic problem, there are water treatment technologies available now that can reduce or even remove arsenic from your drinking water.  Note: Do not just test your water for Arsenic because there may be other primary and secondary drinking water standards that are elevated or that may interfere with the proposed remediation system.

Learn More and Get the Water Tested

Volunteer

We seek new people at all skill levels for a variety of programs. One thing that everyone can do is attend meetings to share ideas on improving CCGG, enabling us to better understand and address the concerns of well owners.

Everything we do began with an idea.

We realize your time is precious and the world is hectic. CCGG’s volunteers do only what they’re comfortable with. It can be a little or a lot.

For more information, please go to CCGG’s About Page or contact us.

Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law..  Unsolicited donations are appreciated.

Help the Organization and Get Your Water Tested or Order the Private Well Owner Guide (proceeds benefit This Organization).

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Water Cycle, Wellowner, Groundwater, and Pollution Prevention Workshops Available

The Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is partnering with the Pocono Northeast RC&D Council to make available a number of informational and education workshops in Pennsylvania.  The topics that are currently available include:

Groundwater and Surfacewater Interconnection and the Water Cycle
The Care and Mainteance of Your Well
Water Quality and the Need for Water Treatment
Baseline Testing as it Relates to Marcellus Shale, Shale Gas Development, or Development in Your Community
Citizen Science and the Groundwater Surfacewater Database
Taking the First Step and Getting Back to Zero with Stormwater (Rain Barrel Workshop and Water Conservation)
How to Test, Screen, and Track Well Water Quality – Interpreting Water Quality Data.

To request a workshop in your community, please email bfenviro@ptd.net and put CCGG in the subject.  Please tell us your location and the type of assistance you need.

New Booklet on Drinking Water Quality in PA – sales of booklets support groundwater education in Pennsylvania.

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Webinar to examine stray shale-gas migration into groundwater

Sampling stray gas that is bubbling up through surface water.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Investigations into natural gas from shale development migrating into groundwater will be the focus of a free, Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.

To be presented at 1 p.m. on March 21, “A Geochemical Context for Stray Gas Investigations in the Northern Appalachian Basin,” is part of a monthly series of one-hour webinars.

According to presenter Fred Baldassare, senior geoscientist with ECHELON Applied Geoscience Consulting, as shale gas exploration and development has increased over the past five years, stray gas migration in groundwater has become a hot topic. He will discuss the various sources of methane and the need to review each case individually to determine its origin.

“The occurrence of methane in aquifer systems represents a natural condition in many areas of the Appalachian Basin,” he said. “The origin can be the result of microbial and thermogenic processes that convert organic matter in the aquifer strata to methane, and to lower concentrations of ethane and heavier hydrocarbons in some areas of the basin.

“Or it can result from the progressive migration of hydrocarbon gas over geologic time from the source and/or reservoir to the aquifer.”

But in some instances, Baldassare pointed out, the stray gas that occurs in the aquifer and manifests in private water supplies can be the result of gas-well drilling.

“That happens where pressure combines with ineffective casing cement bonds to create pathways,” he said. “Alleged incidents of stray gas migration must be investigated at the site-specific level and must include isotope geochemistry to determine gas origin and diagnostic evidence to determine a mechanism of migration.”

Presented by Penn State Extension’s Marcellus Education Team, the monthly natural-gas webinars usually are offered from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays. Upcoming webinars will cover the following topics:

–April 24: Utica Reservoirs — Mike Arthur, Penn State professor of geosciences and co-director of the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.

–May 16: Shale Energy Development’s Effect on the Posting, Bonding and Maintenance of Roads in Rural Pennsylvania — Mark Gaines, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of  Maintenance, Operations and Roadway Management, and Tim Ziegler, Penn State Larson Transportation Institute, Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies.

–June 20: Royalty Calculations for Natural Gas from Shale — Jim Ladlee, associate director, Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research.

Previous webinars, publications and information also are available on the Penn State Extension natural-gas website (http://extension.psu.edu/naturalgas), covering a variety of topics, such as Act 13; seismic testing; air pollution from gas development; water use and quality; zoning; gas-leasing considerations for landowners; gas pipelines and right-of-way issues; legal issues surrounding gas development; and the impact of Marcellus gas development on forestland.

Registration for this webinar is not necessary, and all are welcome to participate by logging in to https://meeting.psu.edu/pscems . For more information, contact Carol Loveland at 570-320-4429 or by email at cal24@psu.edu .

< http://news.psu.edu/story/267750/2013/03/08/webinar-examine-stray-shale-gas-migration-groundwater >

Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Well water testing and educational program.

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