USGS report shows likely locations of elevated arsenic

USGS report shows likely locations of elevated arsenic


USA, 25 May 2006: A recently released study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows the likely locations of elevated arsenic. Bedrock aquifer wells — often known as rock, deep, or artesian wells — are the most common type of well installed for homes in the region and it is the bedrock aquifer that is the primary source of arsenic in the locations where it is elevated, according to the findings. Many private ground-water wells in New Hampshire and Maine may have arsenic at concentrations close to or above Federal safety standards for public water supplies.

“Our study shows where the highest probability of having arsenic in wells occurs,” USGS hydrologist Joseph Ayotte said. “We knew from previous studies that arsenic is a regional problem in New England. The information is intended to assist planners and health officials. It is also intended to help owners in deciding whether to test their well.”

The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, identifies factors that may contribute to high arsenic in wells, and confirms findings from previous studies.

The collaborative study between the USGS, the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, Dartmouth Medical School, and the departments of health in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, concluded that geology was the most significant factor related to arsenic in wells. Other factors include the chemistry of the ground water and characteristics of local aquifers.