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Franklin County water testing to be offered

April 11, 2013

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Penn State Extension, Franklin County, is offering a water-testing program during National Drinking Water Week, May 6 to 10.

The program encourages private well owners to test their water at group rates.

The results of previous testing show that about one of every three well owners will discover the presence of coliform bacteria in their well water. About one of every six wells will have nitrates above the recommended limit for drinking water.

Something can be done about these problems if you know you have them.

Two groups of tests will be provided.

Group one provides the most essential tests and includes coliform bacteria, E. coli and nitrate. Penn State recommends running these tests annually. The price is $43.

Group two is recommended for first-time testing and every three years thereafter. It includes coliform bacteria, E. coli, nitrate, lead, pH and total dissolved solids. The price for this group is $75.

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The tests will be run in a lab certified by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Coliform bacteria indicate the potential presence of disease-causing organisms. They originate from soil, sewage or manure.

The presence of E. coli confirms an origin in sewage or manure. Nitrate is of concern when those younger than 6 months old drink the water.

Nitrates enter the groundwater from heavily fertilized areas — home lawns, farm fields and septic systems.

Lead at high levels in the blood affects nerves, kidneys and the brain. Children absorb more of the lead in their diets than adults do. Lead in water comes primarily from solder joints in copper pipe.

pH measures the acidity of the water and is a measure of the tendency of water to corrode plumbing.

Total Dissolved Solids is useful for keeping track of the overall quality of the water. It is related to hardness, taste and corrosion tendencies.

Test kits can be purchased at the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Office from May 6 to 10 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The samples must be collected and returned Tuesday, May 14, between 8:30 a.m. and noon. There will be a follow-up help session Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m.

For more information contact the Extension office at 181 Franklin Farm Lane, Chambersburg. Call 717-263-9226.

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