MASSACHUSETTS DRINKING WATER – ARSENIC & URANIUM ISSUES
Massachusetts drinking water probabilities of Arsenic and Uranium can now be seen at the following detailed town maps. Just follow the previous link and click on the link next to your town to obtain a PDF map of the Arsenic/Uranium probability zones for your town. Let’s back up first and answer some important questions regarding the testing and potential health impacts associated with Arsenic and Uranium in water.
Drinking Water Standards
First, it is important to note that the state and federal public drinking water standards for Arsenic and Uranium are 0.010 ug/l or ppb, parts per billion and 0.030 ug/l or parts per billion respectively. It is highly recommended that all homeowners test their wells to make sure your Massachusetts drinking water is in compliance.
Testing and Treating your Water
The only way to know for sure if your drinking water is above or below these standards is to get it tested by a certified laboratory. Treating the presence of Arsenic and Uranium in water can be more complicated than treating other issues, however, it can be achieved effectively through proven technologies such as reverse osmosis and ion exchange type systems.
The Health Effects
If you suspect the presence of Arsenic or Uranium in your water, the safest way to avoid health risks is to drink bottled water until your well water is appropriately tested and then treated if necessary.
The potential health effects of Arsenic and Uranium in water are quite scary, but only occur when high levels of the contaminants are consumed. Drinking water with higher levels of Arsenic can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cardiovascular effects and brain effects. Long term consumption has been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers as well. Chronic exposure to Uranium in drinking water has been linked mostly to kidney damage.
What to Do Now
Check the town maps linked in the first paragraph of this article for more information on whether your private bedrock water well is in a high probability location. If you are at risk, give us a call for help with testing protocol or for treatment options. Even if you aren’t in a high probability area, it is important to have your private well water tested annually. If you know your water is contaminated, be safe and drink only bottled water until the problem is resolved.