State health experts urging homeowners to test well water for arsenic and uranium

HARTFORD -- State health experts are urging people to get their well water tested after uranium and arsenic are showing up at higher levels all over the state.

The information is coming from a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and Connecticut’s Department of Public Health. The study showed that seven percent of the wells tested had levels of the two metals too high to deem the drinking water safe.

Representatives from the DPH explained that both uranium and arsenic are common in Connecticut’s well water because of the wide range of bedrock in the earth across the state.

“We found elevated levels sporadically all over the state so the bottom line message is is that every well is at risk and that every well should be tested,” Brian Toal from the DPH said.

The department warning that there are long term health risks for residents who consume water with high levels of either of the two metals, including an increased risk of bladder, skin, or lung cancers.

“Certainly the longer your exposed and the higher levels you’re exposed to the greater the risk, but it is a long term risk, it’s not something you’re going to get sick from today or tomorrow or next week,” Toal said.

Randy Boncek from Aquatek Lads explains the process for homeowners and prospective homeowners to test for the metals is fairly simple and can cost between $100-$150.

“Most people don’t even know these tests exists, so during a real estate transaction then is the time you want to do the analysis,” Boncek said.

He also said if a home tests positive for the either of the substances, the problem can be fixed several ways. One way includes installing a filtration system.

“It’s a type of treatment system that gets installed directly after the holding tank in the basement so that the entire plumbing distribution system is treated,” Boncek explained.

He also said the testing samples they see in Fairfield County common come back positive for either uranium or arsenic. Boncek added that they have been recently seeing positive sample tests for uranium in Glastonbury, Killingworth, and Madison among others, and arsenic in Pomfret, Woodstock, and Durham.

He said if a homeowner gets a positive sample they should re-test again in six months to a year. Both he and the DPH recommend all homeowners with well water to get the well tested.