Department of Health urges well owners to test their water - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Department of Health urges well owners to test their water

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James Morgan, the UGA Extension Agent for Dougherty County. James Morgan, the UGA Extension Agent for Dougherty County.
People who get their water from wells should be tested at least once per year. People who get their water from wells should be tested at least once per year.
Bathing and showering with water with elevated levels of arsenic is acceptable, although since it's the same water that's being drunk, it isn't recommended. Bathing and showering with water with elevated levels of arsenic is acceptable, although since it's the same water that's being drunk, it isn't recommended.
WORTH CO., GA (WALB) -

The Georgia Department of Public Health is recommending that people who get their water from wells, get it tested for arsenic after elevated levels of the naturally occurring substance were found in several South Georgia wells.

But it isn't just arsenic that is a problem after the recent heavy rains.

Getting water is something that people take for granted these days. You turn on the faucet and there it is.  If you're like most South Georgians, you get your water from a municipal supply but for some, this is the way that they get their water - from wells.

But there are some hidden dangers here.

James Morgan is the University of Georgia Extension Agent for Dougherty County.  He said, "arsenic is naturally found in the river."

With arsenic being found in some South Georgia wells, getting the water that you drink tested has taken on added importance. Fortunately, it's not a difficult process.

"We can test for lead, we can test for arsenic," said Morgan.

After being sent off to the state lab in Athens, a report comes back and lets you know if the water is safe.

Morgan said, "they're EPA's recommendations as far as safe level standards."

Wells are typically tested once a year by the people that own them.  But with the recent flooding rains, there could be some other issues that have crept into wells over the last few weeks.

Southwest Georgia certainly saw a lot of rainfall.

"Well over ten inches in the last few weeks," Morgan said.

It caused plenty of problems on area farms.  And some of that water is still on the ground in some spots.  All of that water could cause some problems in the wells too.

"When you have flooding, there's always a possibility that you could have bacteria occurring in wells," said Morgan.

The same testing process that can find arsenic in your well water can find other harmful substances as well.  And it's just as easy.

"Collect the water in the early morning from a kitchen or bathroom sink - seal that nicely, bring it to our office and then we will have it transferred into a sealed container," said Morgan.

Proper testing may seem like a bit of an inconvenience, but it does allow well owners to continue to turn on the tap with confidence.

Municipal water supplies are already tested on a frequent basis for harmful substances such as arsenic.

It does cost a small fee to get your water tested, you can call your local extension office to see about those fees.

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