News 12 Connecticut says Stamford health officials are urging homeowners to test their well water for uranium, and speaks with RTK Environmental Group about testing, health affects, and solutions. Uranium was recently discovered in 70% of water wells tested in Stamford, CT. Contaminated well water is a growing problem all over Connecticut: approximately 20% of private wells are contaminated with toxins including uranium, arsenic, radon, carcinogenic pesticides, and heavy metals like lead. To be safe, you should test for all of these things. A basic well-water test does not usually include uranium.
Stamford health officials say it is dangerous to consume high levels of uranium long term because it is radioactive and can cause kidney damage and cancer.
They say since they issued the uranium warning, more homeowners are calling them or hiring private companies to test their water. To have your well tested by an independent testing company, call RTK at (800) 392-6468 or click here.
In 2014, testing revealed that 70% of wells in Stamford, CT were contaminated with uranium and arsenic. Wells from Boston to Washington, DC have tested positive for a variety of harmful contaminants. You may mistakenly believe that because your drinking water comes from a well, it’s purer and safer than water from reservoirs. But well water can contain a host of contaminants, including coliform bacteria, uranium, lead, arsenic, E. coli, nitrates, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) radon, pesticides, and MtBE (a gasoline compound), which can cause a wide variety of health problems, including skin problems; damage to the brain, kidneys, and neurological system; gastro-intestinal illness; hair loss; and immune deficiencies.
The only way to know if your water is harming your family is to have it tested by an independent testing service like RTK Environmental. If you are interested in learning more or setting up a test, call us at (800) 392-6468 or learn more about water testing here.
You may mistakenly believe that because your drinking water comes from a well, it’s purer and safer than water from reservoirs. A recent article in a Connecticut newspaper (Stamford Advocate) dispelled that notion, when it reported that unhealthy traces of arsenic were found in private wells in some southern Connecticut towns, and that the Connecticut Department of Public Health received numerous reports of pesticide and heavy metal contamination in residential drinking water across the state.
Common Contaminants & Health Effects
Well water can contain a host of contaminants, including coliform bacteria, lead, arsenic, E. coli, nitrates, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) radon, pesticides, and MtBE (a gasoline compound). Many of these contaminants cannot be identified by taste or odor, making it difficult for homeowners to know if the water quality of their well is acceptable. Contaminants can cause a wide variety of health problems, including skin problems; damage to the brain, kidneys, and neurological system; gastro-intestinal illness; hair loss; and immune deficiencies.
Wells in the Tri-State
Arsenic, radon, and heavy metals can seep into the water supply from rock, not just industrial pollution. Water in areas that have experienced flooding can also become contaminated. Can private wells be regulated by the EPA? The EPA regulates public water systems; it does not regulate private water wells. Yet, nearly 25% of private wells contain harmful contaminants, according to the U.S. Geological Survery Water Science School. In the New York tri-state area, high levels of arsenic, radon, and heavy metals are a major issue.
Although the Connecticut state Department of Public Health does not require private well owners to test their water for known toxins, other communities are taking steps to protect us. Westchester County in New York implemented the Westchester County Private Well Water Testing Legislation, Local Law 7 – 2007, which requires that water test be conducted upon the signing of a contract of sale for any property served by a private well. New Jersey also has similar testing laws.
How Often Should I Test?
At a minimum, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends that you check your well every spring to make sure there are no mechanical problems, and have it tested once each year for total coliform bacteria, VOCs, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. Every few years you should test for additional contaminants.
Who Should Test My Well?
An independent testing company that uses state-certified (licensed) laboratories will give you thorough, unbiased results. If they find a problem, they will help you determine what your next steps should be. For more information on water testing, click here. To set up a well water test in the tri-state area, call RTK at (800) 392-6468 or click here.
Depending on the contaminants, this may spell danger. So, if your drinking water comes from a private well, better to be safe than sorry; have your well tested to make sure you are not putting yourself, your family, or your employees in danger.
The gardener’s gloves are on. The seeds are ready. But are the soil and water are safe and toxin-free? Before you plant those vegetable gardens, you need to find out. Otherwise, you could be eating a harmful harvest in the summer and fall.
Lead in soil is a very common problem, especially if you live in a pre-1978 built home or in a neighborhood of older homes. So how does lead get in your soil? When your older home’s exterior is painted, the first step is sanding, which spews lead dust through the air, landing on your property. Flaking paint chips can also be ground into the soil, or in some cases, paint can peel right off the home. Also, if the home’s interior is painted and sanded, often windows are left open to disburse the dust. And guess where that lead dust falls? In your yard.
The water you use to soak the garden also may contain contaminants from a variety of sources including an aging water distribution system, age and the type of pipes in your home, soil pollution from fertilizer and nitrates, and groundwater elements. Certain chemicals can have devastating effects on our health, even in miniscule concentrations. Contaminated water can cause severe kidney damage; intestinal lesions; sensory, neurological, and respiratory damage; blue-baby syndrome; and shortness of breath.
There are steps you can take to lessen these dangers. Most importantly, hire a certified environmental inspector to test your soil and water for contaminants. You may be free of toxins. But then again, you may find that you have true health hazards.
Some other steps you can take:
Position the garden as far away as possible from any pre-1978 built homes.
Use a garden hose filter to lessen impurities.
Consider bed gardening, which raises the garden above soil level. And then fill with clean garden soil.
Erect a fence or a hedge to act as a buffer against any blowing lead dust.
Keep children away from any lead-tainted soil. Never let children eat the soil.
Wear protective clothing when gardening. Remove your clothes before entering your home, and place them in a plastic bag. The next stop is your washing machine. Tracking lead dust into a home is a common way for lead to enter a home.
Soils high in organic matter and compost with pH levels between 6.5 and 7.0 do a better job of binding lead in the soil, preventing it from being absorbed by plants.
If the test reveals the levels of lead in your soil are just too high, you may want to consider remediation of the contaminated soil. There are several options, including soil removal, raising pH levels and adding organic matter, or mixing in new soil. A certified lead inspector can tell you which may be the best option for your situation.
Click here to schedule a test of your soil and water.