Trace elements at levels of potential health concerns found in wells

RESTON, Va. — According to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey, about 20 percent of untreated water samples from public, private and monitoring wells across the nation contain concentrations of at least one trace element, such as arsenic, manganese and uranium, at levels of potential health concern, according to a press release.

“In public wells these contaminants are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , and contaminants are removed from the water before people drink it,” said Joe Ayotte, USGS hydrologist and lead author on the study. “However, trace elements could be present in water from private wells at levels that are considered to pose a risk to human health, because they aren’t subject to regulations. In many cases people might not even know that they have an issue.”

Trace elements in groundwater exceed human health benchmarks at a rate that far outpaces most other groundwater contaminants, such as nitrate, pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), stated the release.

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