Last week we focused on the topic of water quality in Susquehanna County. If you missed a day, here is the last week in review:
On Monday, we posted our response to a recent Bloomberg piece – Tuesday we a look at naturally occurring contaminants in the area – Wednesday was recap of the DEP-sponsored webinar on well water quality & maintenance – Thursday we took a look at how treatment systems can help address some common water quality issues.
So after all of that, what do we know?
1. There are no regulations for private water well construction or testing in Pennsylvania.
Due to the lack of regulations, it is estimated that 40% of all private water wells across the state fail to meet at least ONE safe drinking water standard.
2. Contaminants, such as arsenic or methane, can be naturally occurring or “common” in areas across the state.
Geological formations will dictate the characteristics of the water in an area. For example, residents in Susquehanna County have been reporting the ability to light their water on fire since the early 1800s. It’s critical to understand which substances are common in your area and be sure that you are including them in water tests.
3. If contaminants are found at elevated levels, there are a variety of treatment options that can help reduce the concentrations.
Treatment options will be specially installed to address areas of concern. Since some contaminants will not create any aesthetic issues with your water, it is important to regularly test your water even if there don’t appear to be any problems.
These facts make it clear that due to the complex nature of water quality issues, it is best to allow science to take the lead. The media needs to take a step back from their usual “report first, write retractions or edits later” approach in order to fully grasp the intricacies of these cases. You simply cannot rush science.
Media spin should not be used as a treatment for the facts yet it often requires the reader to run the story through a filter to get to the truth.