Health district offers free well testing

The Trumbull Monroe Health District (TMHD), in conjunction with the state Department of Public Health (DPH), is conducting free arsenic and uranium testing on residential homes with private drinking water wells in order to gather statewide data on these components. This free program will provide residents with the sample bottle and information they need to collect a well sample which will be analyzed by the CT DPH laboratory for arsenic and uranium.

There is a limited number of sampling bottles available. Call the Health District at 203-452-5195 to reserve your bottle.

Arsenic and uranium are metals that occur naturally in bedrock. When ground water comes in contact with the bedrock, the metals may leach out and contaminate private wells. Both metals are considered toxic and can have a variety of adverse health effects if people are exposed at high enough levels and for a long period of time.

Arsenic is considered a human cancer-causing agent and has been associated with increased risk of lung, bladder and skin cancers. Uranium in ground water is not a major cancer concern but the toxicity of the metal has been associated with adverse effects on kidney function.

Arsenic and uranium are not part of a standard water test. Homeowners will need to ask labs to analyze for these metals. Testing for these contaminants should be conducted at least once, ideally every five years. The cost for testing for both metals can range between $65 to $100. If you are not able to take advantage of the free testing program, refer to the state Department of Public Health website to obtain a list of approved drinking water laboratories. A local laboratory, Aqua Environmental Laboratory, in Newtown, offers very competitive pricing for arsenic and uranium testing, at $60. It can be reached at 203-270-9973.

“Testing your well water for bacterial, physical parameters and chemicals is the best way to ensure that your drinking water is safe”, said Patrice Sulik, Director of Health. “We are hoping that the arsenic and uranium testing program raises awareness about comprehensive well water testing for those in our community who have private drinking water wells. The Health District encourages all residents with private wells to test their well water according to the guidelines provided by the CT Department of Public Health.”

Even if you do not suspect any well water problems, it is important to test your water to ensure that it is safe to drink, according to the district. The best time of year to test water is now, after a spring or summer heavy rainy period.

DPH and TMHD encourage homeowners to protect their wells.

Regular testing and good practices to prevent contamination can help ensure that your well supplies you with good quality drinking water.

For more information or to reserve your testing supplies contact TMHD at 203-452-5195.