The job is easier if you understand your role in developing a safe water supply. This includes understanding how local land use patterns can interact with local geology and affect your well. It also means installing your well in a protected area outside of sources of contamination. HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, sets minimum standards for common wells. These must be completed to qualify for a mortgage insured by the FHA. For rural landowners, the benefits of a common well can include reduced operating costs and access to high-quality drinking water. If done correctly, lenders will provide mortgages on real estate that shares a well. It is important to have a strong agreement between all parties to ensure conflict-free operation and to outline the legal responsibilities of each member budget. Arsenic can be found in groundwater sources that feed water supply wells. In this context, it is important for all users to understand whether their water supply contains arsenic. Neither governments nor national governments have set minimum standards for drinking water quality for private wells and there are no requirements for mandatory testing except for coliform bacteria and nitrates – a well is rebuilt or repaired at any time. This means that it is the responsibility of the well owner and water users to conduct tests on their own private sources so that they understand the quality of their drinking water and any adverse health effects of the water.
A recent study from the University of Iowa tested 475 private wells for the presence of various impurities. This group found that eight percent (8%) of wells had arsenic levels above the health threshold. The map on the right provides a basic view of the test results. Red dots indicate arsenic levels above the maximum recommended values and blue dots indicate arsenic levels below the maximum recommended values. Because of the potential health risks posed by arsenic, public health and environmental health professionals encourage all private well owners to have their wells tested at least once for arsenic. These tests provide the well owner and water users with important information about all the health risks that arsenic may pose. In general, the cost of arsenic testing is about 20$US per sample. For more information on arsenic testing, see the National Hygiene Laboratory`s arsenic information page. When a private well user finds that arsenic is present in their water supply and that the values pose a health risk, there are water treatment options that help reduce or eliminate the risk of arsenic. Treatment systems for arsenic reduction or elimination include reverse osmosis treatment systems, water distillers or one or more water filtration beds containing activated alumina.
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