Is Your Water Affecting Your Health?
Essential living in Maine begins by protecting our air, food and water quality. All three basic human needs are equally important. Water touches the food we eat and the air we breathe so drinking water health is the “Maine” topic of this article. The statewide population of households utilizing private well water, not regulated by state or local municipalities, stands at 56.7%. This means nearly 6 out of every 10 Maine homeowners are accountable for their own well water quality management. We Mainer’s enjoy many natural wonders that attract so many visitors to Vacationland, however there are some important natural factors below ground to be aware of to ensure drinking water quality. Below are the primary health elements found in groundwater that should be tested for on a regular basis:
- Inorganic contaminants can be naturally occurring or man-made. Examples of man-made causes of contamination include pesticides, metals, and industrial waste. Naturally occurring or otherwise, the most common Maine well water inorganic concerns tend to be lead, nitrates, and arsenic. Arsenic is most common and has two possible causes that contaminate well water. Arsenic can occur naturally by releasing from rock deep in the earth. It can also come from arsenic-based pesticides that were used extensively on crops such as blueberries, apples, and potatoes in the 1920s through the 1950s. Arsenic exposure is common in deep drilled wells and directly link to various cancers and developmental delays in children.
- Biological contaminants are organisms in water. They are also referred to as microbes or microbiological contaminants. Various forms of bacteria are examples of common biological concerns in Maine well water and are typically found in shallow dug wells where exposure to surface water runoff and feces from humans and animals are more likely to occur.
- Radionuclide contaminants are chemical elements with an unbalanced number of protons and neutrons resulting in radiation exposure. The most common example in Maine well water is uranium, which occurs naturally with erosion of natural deposits underground. Elevated levels of uranium are more likely to be found in deeper drilled wells, rather than in shallow wells.
- Radon gas in water comes from the natural radioactive breakdown of uranium underground which then dissolves and accumulates in well water. When water contains radon, the exposure points are typically showers and sinks where radon gas escapes into the air while being used. It is similar to carbonated drinks where carbon dioxide is dissolved in the bottle and is released when you open the bottle. Radon has no color, odor, or taste so it can’t be detected outside of lab water testing.
The most important thing private well water owners must know is that none of these primary health concerns can be detected via smell, taste, or sight. The only way to protect against these well water quality concerns is consistent lab testing. The Maine CDC recommends that your well water is lab tested annually for bacteria and nitrates and every 5 years for uranium, radon, lead, and arsenic. The arsenic contaminant, which is estimated to be above the EPA limit in 15% of Maine private wells, is directly linked to bladder cancer. The incidence of bladder cancer in Maine is 20% above the national average, ranking it among the highest in the United States for the past decade. Groundwater quality changes over time and will shift levels of contamination like arsenic, so the need to be consistent with well water testing is essential to ensuring family health and wellness. Unfortunately, less than half of Maine private well owners are testing their water supply on a regular basis.
The good news is there are plenty of resources and proven solutions available to correct all primary health concerns in Maine well water. Feeling good and being healthy is not a luxury so protect your family’s health and wellness by testing your water today!
The team at Dunbar Water-Mr.H2O takes the science of water treatment and purification seriously and is committed to helping you gain an understanding of the elements that make up the water in your home. They provide a number of services that include water testing, analysis, and treatment solutions. Their number one priority is community education, so contact them as needed with water quality questions or guidance on the right treatment solution. Contact them today and ask about their FREE in-home iron, pH, and hardness water test! For more information, visit: www.deadriver.com/dunbarwater or call 1-866-426-2273.