(WFSB) -- Connecticut public health officials are urging private well owners to test their water quality.
This comes after a new report put out by the U.S. Geological Survey showed high levels of naturally occurring arsenic and uranium in some wells.
“The research, undertaken in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, projects that approximately 3.9% of private wells across Connecticut contain water with arsenic at concentrations higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant level for public drinking-water supplies. This research also projects that 4.7% of private wells in the state have uranium concentrations higher than the EPA’s standards,” a press release said.
Arsenic and uranium are naturally occurring metals found in bedrock. They are odorless and tasteless chemicals.
Expert said wells that are sometimes drilled into “bedrock aquifers can produce water containing arsenic or uranium. Unless wells are tested, there’s no way to confirm the presence or absence of these contaminants.”
According to the state, 23 percent, or 820,000 homes, have private wells in Connecticut.
Eric Mosman, of Woodbury, is one of those homeowners who gets his drinking water from a well.
When he realized the water that’s being used for his daily activities may have elevated amounts of uranium and arsenic, he sprang into action.
“You want to protect your family the best you can and the water, everything revolves around water,” he said.
The science behind this is tricky, as Quinnipiac Biological Sciences Professor Courtney McGinnis said the state’s terrain plays a big role.
“It’s in rockier terrain throughout Connecticut. You’re kind of drilling into the ground there, it’s allowing for those minerals to get into your well water,” she said.
Public water sources are tested, but if you have a private well, it’s up to homeowners to test, which is why the plea is going out.
Test one time, see what you have. Then, at least you know what you’re dealing with, because if you don’t test, you don’t know,” said Lori Mathieu, branch chief of the Dept. of Public Health Environmental Health and Drinking Water.
What can be more concerning is that we’ll never be able to identify hotspots for these cancer-causing chemicals, because results can vary home by home.
“You have a neighborhood of 30-40 homes, everyone is testing their well, they get a variety of different results,” Mathieu said.
“We might have different underground water sources that we’re tapping into,” McGinnis said.
That’s why the state said testing for the chemicals is going to be critical.
“There’s really no way for you to know if your drinking water that you utilize on a daily basis is potentially contaminated unless you get it tested,” McGinnis said.
Mosman does the tests for a living, and he said the testing process isn’t as simple as just giving a lab a glass of water.
“We’re going to look over the system and see the best point to pull it from, depending on what water treatment is in place and there’s flush periods you have to do for certain testing,” Mosman said.
He said water should run for at least five minutes to ensure we’re tapping into the well.
His company will come and collect the samples and then send it to one of the 25 labs approved by the state. Results should come back within a week.
Mosman does it once a year and the state suggest you do it too.
“We’ve been lucky, we haven’t had any elevated levels, but there are areas around here where it’s pretty prominent,” he said.
If a homeowner’s sample does come back with elevated levels, there are solutions, like having a reverse osmosis system installed, but they can cost thousands of dollars.
The state does offer assistance in finding the right solution for you.
To read the full study, click here.