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Arsenic in Well Water

 

October 10, 2012

 

 

 

 

Arsenic is a naturally-occurring mineral found in bedrock layers. Recent well water sampling programs in the Towns of Lamartine and Osceola found arsenic detects at a rate slightly higher than the state average. The EPA recommends avoiding long-term consumption of drinking water containing arsenic at a higher level than .01 mg/L (10 ppb). Drinking water with high levels of arsenic is thought to increase the risk of skin cancers as well as lung, liver, bladder, kidney, and colon cancers, circulatory disorders, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and unusual skin pigmentation.

All wells should be sampled for arsenic at least once in the lifetime of the well. If arsenic is present at any level, it is recommended that the well be sampled routinely because there are concerns that levels will rise over time.

Fond du Lac County residents may find it convenient to sample for arsenic through these state certified labs in our region. This information is current as of October 10, 2012. All labs when contacted by UW-Extension stated that sample bottles could be mailed. Contact the labs individually to confirm prices, sampling procedure, and amount of time the analysis takes.

UW-Extension Water and Environmental Analysis Lab(This is the lab we use for the town-wide sampling)800 Reserve St.Stevens Point, WI 54481715/346-4270Metals Package ($45) includes Arsenic, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Total Sulfur (SO4), and Zinc.  For an Individual Testing; for example:  just for Arsenic, the cost is $17.
Badger Labs501 Bell St.Neenah, WI  54956-1392920/729-1100$23 Clean Water Testing500 W. Franklin St.Appleton, WI  54911920/733-7590$36
Northern Lakes400 North Lake Ave.Crandon, WI 54520-1286715/478-2777$35 WI State Lab of Hygiene2601 Agricultural Dr.Madison, WI 53718800/442-4618$27

Arsenic can be removed from well water using 1)Water Softener + Reverse Osmosis or 2) Iron Filter + Reverse Osmosis. Residents may also choose to avoid drinking well water by using bottled water instead. Filters installed on the faucet or pitcher-type water filters DO NOT remove arsenic.

UW-Extension encourages well owners to choose a state-approved water treatment device known to be effective at removing the contaminant identified. Visit the WI Department of Safety and Professional Services to find approved water treatment devices.

More information about arsenic can be found at:

Arsenic in Your Well Water: Understanding Your Test Results (WI Dept. of Health Services)

Arsenic In Drinking Water (WI Dept. of Natural Resources)

Arsenic In Your Drinking Water (EPA)

 

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