Free Testing Of Wells, Springs In Potter County
Help is available for property owners across the region who are concerned about possible contamination of their wells and springs. A 2009 report by the Penn State Extension showed that about 40 percent of area wells contain at least one contaminant. Grants total about $150,000 are being used to pay for hundreds of private water source tests in a region that includes Potter and Cameron counties.
At this point, samples will be analyzed for pH, total dissolved solids, bacteria, barium, chloride, nitrogen, arsenic and corrosivity. If demand for the tests exceeds the amount of available funds, applicants will be accepted based on income. Testing will be conducted in March and April in Cameron and Clinton counties, and in May through June in Potter and McKean counties.
Applications are available at the Potter County Commissioners office (274-8290, Ext. 207), or by contacting Kelly Williams at 765-2629. The sponsors are also providing educational workshops and materials to help owners of wells and springs interpret water quality results and learn about their options if something does happen to their water supply.
Penn State Extension water specialist Bryan Swistock advises property owners to get a baseline test. “Sometimes people are surprised by what they see, because they have no symptoms in the water,” he said. “Many get tests only when they notice an odor or a change in the water’s color or taste.” Substances that cause those problems — iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide – often do not pose health issues. But dangerous contaminants, such as coliform, E. coli bacteria and arsenic, can go unnoticed without testing.