Water quality in Georgia’s private drinking water wells
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The University of Georgia’s Agricultural and Environmental Services Laboratories (AESL) conduct a water-testing program for private drinking water wells. In a review of over 27,000 tests done during the ten years from 1993 through 2004, the most common problems were low pH (data not shown), and high levels of manganese and iron. Approximately 15 and 18% of the household wells tested had iron and manganese levels above the EPA’s secondary drinking water standards of 0.3 and 0.05 ppm, respectively. As primarily a consequence of pipe and fixture corrosion caused by low pH, alkalinity, and ionic strength waters, 4 and 6% of the samples had copper and lead levels above 1.3 ppm and 15 ppb, the EPA maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for copper and lead, respectively. Four percent of the samples tested had nitrate-N levels above the EPA’s MCL of 10 ppm. High nitrate levels appear more often in shallow groundwater and may be a result of poor wellhead protection. Bacterial tests on 1413 well water samples submitted from 2002 to 2004 indicated about 41 and 7% of the wells had positive detections for total coliform bacteria and E. coli, respectively.
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