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Please click on the link and take a minute to read the attached article.
What is groundwater and why is it important to me?
More than two million Marylanders obtain their water from groundwater. Groundwater is created from rain that soaks into the ground, which absorbs it like a sponge. It is a natural resource that is used for drinking, household purposes, irrigation, business and industry needs.
Water that soaks into the ground is filtered as it passes through various layers of sand, clay or rock, before discharging to streams, rivers or the Chesapeake Bay. Too often groundwater is taken for granted because it cannot be seen.
Groundwater is vulnerable to pollution by livestock areas, abandoned mines, salted roads, farming and industrial areas. Homeowners also contribute to groundwater contamination by dumping household chemicals down the drain if they have a septic system or by pouring them on the ground.
Groundwater contaminated with bacteria, chemicals, pesticides, gasoline, or oil can result in serious human health problems. Those who consume contaminated groundwater may suffer bacterial diseases, nervous system disorders, liver or kidney failure, cancer or other ailments depending on the contamination.
To protect groundwater be proactive in the upkeep of your home and yard:
- Limit the amount of fertilizer used on plants.
- If you own a septic system, service it according to local health department or manufacturer recommendations.
- If you own a water well, get a yearly maintenance check to ensure sanitary seals are intact.
- Consider having your water tested every couple of years or if you notice a change in color, odor or taste.
- Check for leaky faucets and have them fixed.
To protect groundwater make simple changes to your everyday activities:
- Take shorter showers.
- Shut off water when brushing your teeth.
- Run full loads of dishes and laundry.
- Properly store hazardous household substances like paints, paint thinners, petroleum products, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and cleaning products in secure containers and do not empty hazardous household waste down the drain or the toilet.
- Mix hazardous household substances over concrete or asphalt where they can be cleaned up or absorbed.
Addtional Information and Related Links:
John Boris, Geologist, 410-537-3678 or John.Boris@maryland.gov
Nitrate in water is undetectable without testing because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. A water test for nitrate is highly recommended for households with infants, pregnant women, nursing mothers, or elderly people. These groups are the most susceptible to nitrate or nitrite contamination. Nitrate-nitrogen occurs naturally in groundwater, usually at concentrations far below a level of concern for drinking water safety. An initial test of a new water supply is needed to determine the baseline nitrate concentration. Therefore, if the water supply has never been tested for nitrate, it should be tested.
In addition to testing for Nitrates you may also want to test for Bacteria. Bacteriological contamination in water may contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to the presence of nitrate. All drinking water sources also should be tested for bacteriological contamination, particularly if the nitrate-nitrogen level exceeds the 10 mg/L standard. The presence of both nitrate and bacteriological contamination may indicate a poor well location or construction, and possible contamination from surface drainage, feedlots, sewage systems, or some other source.
If you have any questions, or concern about Bacti or Nitrates in your well water, please feel free to give us a call at 301-293-3340.
Cloudy, murky or grayish water is usually caused by dissolved or suspended solids. This is also known as “turbidity.” Water can become turbid naturally or from land disturbances such as construction, storms and urban runoff.
The turbidity of your water can range from low to high. But even if your water looks clear, it could still contain a high level of dissolved solids. That’s why, whether your water is turbid or not, we recommend you have it tested.
Fredericktowne Labs can test your water and give you an answer.
Protecting Your Ground Water Supply
When Building, Modifying Or Closing A Well
• Hire a certified well driller for any new well construction or modification
• Slope well area so surface runoff drains away
• When closing a well:
– Do not cut off the well casing below the land surface
– Hire a certified well contractor to fill or seal the well
• Install a locking well cap or sanitary seal to prevent unauthorized use of,
or entry into, the well
• Do not mix or use pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, degreasers, fuels, and
other pollutants near the well
• Never dispose of wastes in dry wells or in abandoned wells
• Pump and inspect septic systems as often as recommended by your local
• Never dispose of hazardous materials in a septic system
• Take care in working or mowing around your well
Maintaining Your Well
• Each month check visible parts of your system for problems such as:
– Cracking or corrosion,
– Broken or missing well cap,
– Settling and cracking of surface seals
• Have the well tested once a year for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and other
• Keep accurate records in a safe place, including:
– Construction contract or report
– Maintenance records, such as disinfection or sediment removal
– Any use of chemicals in the well
– Water testing results
After A Flood — Concerns And Advisories
• Stay away from the well pump while flooded to avoid electric shock
• Do not drink or wash from the flooded well to avoid becoming sick
• Get assistance from a well or pump contractor to clean and turn on the
• After the pump is turned back on, pump the well until the water runs clear
to rid the well of flood water
• If the water does not run clear, get advice from the county or state health
department or extension service
• For additional information go to http://www.epa.gov/safewater/consumer/
For More Info:
Check out the Blog on Frederick County Business Development and Retention website.
Six Questions with Mary Miller, Ph.D, Owner-President,
Fredericktowne Labs, Inc.
3020 Ventrie Ct. P.O. Box 245.
Myersville, MD. 21773
What is the nature of your business?
Meet and Greet with Frederick County Business Development and Retention.
A visit from David Dunn – County Commissioner Liaison, Sherman Coleman – Business Development Specialist, Paul Smith – VP, Board of Commissioners, David Gray -Frederick County Commissioner, Heather Gramm, Director, Regional Growth & Retention, Latrice Lewis – Business & Employment Consultant, Beth Woodring – Senior Consultant, SBTDC Network, Dr. Mary Miller -FTL, Karen Witcraft – FTL, Dan Staley – FTL
Information provided by: http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/nitrite.cfm
EPA regulates nitrite in drinking water to protect public health. Nitrite may cause health problems if present in public or private water supplies in amounts greater than the drinking water standard set by EPA.
- What is nitrite?
- Uses for nitrite.
- What are nitrite’s health effects?
- What are EPA’s drinking water regulations for nitrite?
- How does nitrite get into my drinking water?
- How will I know if nitrite is in my drinking water?
- How will nitrite be removed from my drinking water?
- How do I learn more about my drinking water?
If you are concerned about nitrate in a private well, please visit:
What are nitrite’s health effects?
Infants below six months who drink water containing nitrite in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome.
This health effects language is not intended to catalog all possible health effects for nitrite. Rather, it is intended to inform consumers of some of the possible health effects associated with nitrite in drinking water when the rule was finalized.
What are EPA’s drinking water regulations for nitrite?
In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks and exposure over a lifetime with an adequate margin of safety, are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG). Contaminants are any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substances or matter in water.
The MCLG for nitrite is 1 mg/L or 1 ppm. EPA has set this level of protection based on the best available science to prevent potential health problems. EPA has set an enforceable regulation for nitrite, called a maximum contaminant level (MCL), at 1 mg/L or 1 ppm. MCLs are set as close to the health goals as possible, considering cost, benefits and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies. In this case, the MCL equals the MCLG, because analytical methods or treatment technology do not pose any limitation.
The Phase II Rule, the regulation for nitrite, became effective in 1992. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to periodically review the national primary drinking water regulation for each contaminant and revise the regulation, if appropriate. EPA reviewed nitrite as part of the Six Year Review and determined that the 1 mg/L or 1 ppm MCLG and 1 mg/L or 1 ppm MCL for nitrite are still protective of human health.
States may set more stringent drinking water MCLGs and MCLs for nitrite than EPA.
A federal law called the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) requires facilities in certain industries, which manufacture, process, or use significant amounts of toxic chemicals, to report annually on their releases of these chemicals. For more information on the uses and releases of chemicals in your state, contact the Community Right-to-Know Hotline: (800) 424-9346.
- EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Web site provides information about the types and amounts of toxic chemicals that are released each year to the air, water, and land.
How will I know if nitrite is in my drinking water?
When routine monitoring indicates that nitrite levels are above the MCL, your water supplier must take steps to reduce the amount of nitrite so that it is below that level. Water suppliers must notify their customers as soon as practical, but no later than 24 hours after the system learns of the violation. Additional actions, such as providing alternative drinking water supplies, may be required to prevent serious risks to public health.
If your water comes from a household well, check with your health department or local water systems that use ground water for information on contaminants of concern in your area.
How do I learn more about my drinking water?
EPA strongly encourages people to learn more about their drinking water, and to support local efforts to protect the supply of safe drinking water and upgrade the community water system. Your water bill or telephone book’s government listings are a good starting point for local information.
Contact your water utility. EPA requires all community water systems to prepare and deliver an annual consumer confidence report (CCR) (sometimes called a water quality report) for their customers by July 1 of each year. If your water provider is not a community water system, or if you have a private water supply, request a copy from a nearby community water system.
- The CCR summarizes information regarding sources used (i.e., rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or aquifers), detected contaminants, compliance and educational information.
- Some water suppliers have posted their annual reports on EPA’s Web site.
Other EPA Web sites
Reasons to Test Your Water
The chart below will help you spot problems. The last five problems listed are not an immediate health concern, but they can make your water taste bad, may indicate problems, and could affect your well long term.
Conditions or Nearby Activities: Test for: Recurring gastro-intestinal illness Coliform bacteria Household plumbing contains lead pH, lead, copper Radon in indoor air or region is radon rich Radon Corrosion of pipes, plumbing Corrosion, pH, lead Nearby areas of intensive agriculture Nitrate, pesticides, coliform bacteria Coal or other mining operations nearby Metals, pH, corrosion Gas drilling operations nearby Chloride, sodium, barium, strontium Dump, junkyard, landfill, factory, gas station, or dry-cleaning operation nearby Volatile organic compounds, total dissolved solids, pH, sulfate, chloride, metals Odor of gasoline or fuel oil, and near gas station or buried fuel tanks Volatile organic compounds Objectionable taste or smell Hydrogen sulfide, corrosion, metals Stained plumbing fixtures, laundry
Iron, copper, manganese
Salty taste and seawater, or a heavily salted roadway nearby Chloride, total dissolved solids, sodium Scaly residues, soaps don’t lather Hardness Rapid wear of water treatment equipment pH, corrosion Water softener needed to treat hardness Manganese, iron Water appears cloudy, frothy, or colored Color, detergents
We will be closed Thursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29. Please get your samples in early Wednesday, November 27. Thank you.