Twenty Percent of NH Homes Have Arsenic In Their Well Water

If you have water test is positive for arsenic contamination, we can help.


The U.S. Geological Survey is a government agency that collects data related to water sources around the country. A recent USGS study of randomly sampled private bedrock wells concluded that nearly one-fifth of them contain arsenic in concentrations greater than the maximum contamination level allowed for public water supplies. From this data, it can be assumed that approximately 41,000 in Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties have private wells that exceed that level. Private wells are not regulated in the state of New Hampshire and are subsequently seldom tested for arsenic, although it occurs naturally in the area. The State of New Hampshire does recommend individuals test for well water arsenic and other contaminants that affect human health. 


Arsenic deposits appear naturally, but also enters groundwater related to semiconductor manufacturing and petroleum production. It is also used as an additive to animal feed and as an herbicide. Arsenic is both colorless and tasteless. Therefore it can only be detected by specific tests. Public water sources are tested regularly, but private well owners are responsible for testing the water themselves. 


The human body readily absorbs arsenic through the gastrointestinal system and distributes it throughout the body causing many health issues including cancer of the:

•    Skin
•    Bladder
•    Lungs
•    Kidneys
•    Nasal passages
•    Liver
•    Prostate

Non-cancerous effects can include:

•    Cardiovascular
•    Pulmonary
•    Immunological
•    Neurological
•    Endocrine


Well, water arsenic levels are a particular concern for families with young children as they are at a much greater risk for arsenic absorption than adults due to the ratio of water consumption to body mass. Pregnant women should also be aware that arsenic will cross the placenta and can contaminate breast milk. While arsenic and other heavy metals can be found naturally in ground water, they can also be released by mining and construction activities. These activities should trigger testing. Since arsenic was used for many years as a pesticide, wells in the area of older orchards should be tested to ensure there is no health risk. Annual testing is vital, but interim testing should be done if any of these factors exist to suggest it.


To determine the appropriate method for removal of the toxins, tests must be done to measure the level of contamination. There are home testing kits for many contaminates, but arsenic testing must be done by a qualified lab.


There are multiple removal methods including:
•    Activated alumina media filtration - a filter material designed to  remove arsenic and fluoride
•    Manganese greensand filtration - filters using glauconitic greensand with a manganese oxide coating
•    Anion exchange - a process in which chloride ions are charging resin beds are transferred for arsenic molecules when contaminated water passes through the bed. When the saturation level is reached, the resin is back washed with salt water to push the arsenic molecules into waste water. The system is relatively inexpensive to maintain, but failure can mean a significant amount of arsenic to be dumped back into already treated water.
•    Distillation - usually only effective in small quantities.
•    Reverse osmosis - an extremely cost effective method of reducing arsenic levels.


Ask the skilled professionals at Skillings and Sons, Inc. to help you make the correct decisions for an efficient purification system. They will guide you through cost and the removal method to employ. They will also determine how often the well should be tested to ensure the continued effectiveness of the system and the absence of well water arsenic. Whether you are buying or selling a home with a well, or if you need to have you're existing well evaluated for safety, contact the water well professionals at Skillings and Sons, Inc. for water testing and recommendations for resolution. Your family deserves safe drinking water.