If you’re one of the 40% of New Hampshire residents that depend on a well for your water, you may have tested for arsenic already. If not, there is good reason to do so. There are a number of health issues that result from long-term exposure to arsenic in your home’s water. NH has a relatively high incidence of arsenic and it is something that we here at Secondwind treat for often.
Arsenic Is A Common Water Problem in New Hampshire
Arsenic is one of the most common elements of the earth’s crust. It is present in our bedrock and small amounts dissolve into the water that travels through the rock. It ends up in the water we pull from our wells and offers no taste, odor or color to warn us of its presence.
More than 75% of the wells in New Hampshire are bedrock wells, and 20-30% of all private bedrock wells are above the EPA arsenic limit of over 10 parts per billion. A lot of people don’t really know how much that is. 10 parts per billion is roughly equivalent to a few drops of ink in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Arsenic Can Be A Serious Health Issue
Some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of EPA’s standard over many years have experiences circulatory system problems, neurological issues and skin damage. People who are exposed at higher levels and have an increased risk of getting a few different types of cancer. Past research from Dartmouth College suggests this is one reason the state has some of the nation’s highest rates of certain cancers, such as bladder cancer. Accordingly, NH has taken the step of reducing the acceptable limit in the state to 5 ppb to in order to protect our families from this mostly naturally occurring contaminant.
Treating Your Well Water
If you test your water and find out that you have arsenic in your water, you’ll have some decisions to make about if and how you treat it. Every home and well is different, and depending on what else is in your water will help determine the best treatment possible.
Treatment strategies take into account whether you are concerned about skin contact or drinking water only.