Free Well, Spring Testing Available

Help is available for property owners who are concerned about possible contamination of their wells and springs from nearby gas drilling. A $150,000 Colcom Foundation grant is being used to pay for hundreds of private water source tests. 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. Interested owners of wells or springs should contact Kelly Williams at 765-2629 to obtain an application. In Potter County, applications are available from the Conservation District and the Commissioners Office. 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’s Bryan Swistock advises property owners to get a baseline test before gas drilling, as well as afterward. “Sometimes people are surprised by what they see, because they have no symptoms in the water,” he said. 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.


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