Drinking Water Quality Clinics and Outreach in Delaware Focusing on Educating Master Well Owners


The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate the public water systems. The EPA does not have the jurisdiction to regulate private drinking water wells. This leaves approximately fifteen percent of the nation’s population without any regulation being held in place to protect their source of drinking water. With that fifteen percent of the US population having private wells for drinking water, it makes the number of people whose drinking water is unprotected by regulation at a little over 15 million US households. This concern is even more acute in areas with groundwater that is close to the surface. Delaware residents live in a region with low elevation which is very close to the coast with low elevation and the shallow groundwater makes us concern about contaminated well water even more intense. As one of the Water Resources Program partners, we have offered free Drinking Water Quality Clinics to local well owners over the past 4 years in Delaware State University. Since 2009, over 400 Delaware residents have benefited from these clinics. At each clinic, an information session was offered in the evening, with an opportunity to hear from and speak with a drinking water well expert. Participants were given sample bottles and water testing performed the following day included pH, nitrite, nitrate, sulfate, alkalinity, fluoride, hardness, iron, lead, cadmium, arsenic, Total Coliform, and E. coli. Over half of the samples returned out of range values for pH, while 72 returned results positive for Total Coliform and Escherichia coli bacterium. Data are examined for correlations, and improved understanding of local well owners. These tests shared with local well owners insights into what may be wrong with their water. In addition, any tests that came back outside of the normal range were reported to homeowners in writing. Mailed with the written reports were also information specific to what test results were outside of the limits, and actions to take to correct the exact problem the well owners encountered. The data reported here are examined to discuss the correlations of information, and ways that the Drinking Water Quality Clinics have improved our understanding of local wells and ownerships. In conclusion, regular testing on a yearly basis is the most effective way to ensure that public health is maintained.

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G. Ozbay, A. Cannon, A. Treher, S. Clemens, A. Essel, D. Marsh and J. Austin, "Drinking Water Quality Clinics and Outreach in Delaware Focusing on Educating Master Well Owners," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 12B, 2013, pp. 21-32. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.412A2004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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