VT Dept. of Health Recommends Testing Protocol For Homeowners
The Vermont Department of Health now has a “suite” of recommended water tests for private well owners. They offer these recommended tests in three separate kits, which together comprise the recommended “suite” of water testing: Kit A (total coliform with e coli confirmation) costs $14.00, Kit C (inorganic screen including arsenic, uranium, fluoride, lead, copper, nitrates, sodium, chloride, total hardness, iron and manganese) costs $100.00 and Kit RA (gross alpha activity) costs $45.00.
At a total of $159.00 for the three Kits, this is perhaps the most affordable way for a homeowner to get testing for the contaminants that occur in Vermont wells with any regularity. This “suite” of recommended Kits can be easily ordered directly from the Health Department at (800) 660-9997 option 2 with a credit card. They will mail the kits directly to you with instructions on how to take the samples. You can also listen to option 3 on their 800# line to hear a description of the recommended testing. There is even an order form right on the web at: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/ph_lab/documents/watertestform1008.pdf.
Here at Vermont Water, we think its a great idea for homeowners to get this testing done before they get a treatment system, so that we can develop the best possible system design and informed choices can be made prior to purchase. If you already have a treatment system, its still a good idea to get the testing done to get a baseline on your raw water quality, and because it can be important to know that an old water softener or filter could still be removing radioactive contaminants and holding onto them, especially if the system is broken and still connected to the water supply.
We also think people looking to sell or buy a home, should investigate their water quality well in advance of any closing dates, or even putting the house on the market. Water quality concerns on the part of prospective buyers are increasingly becoming a potentially thorny issue for sellers at the last minute.
Also, if you are currently using, or plan to purchase, any type of filtering device on your well water, especially those containing activated carbon or Birm iron removal media, we at Vermont Water suggest you consider getting Kit RC (radon in water), which costs $25.00, especially if you already know you have some gross alpha activity (Kit RA) or uranium (included in Kit C) in the water. Radon can accumulate in certain filter media, and some of the dis-integration elements in the radioactive decay series that stay in the media can emit potentially harmful levels of gamma radiation. If you have more questions about this, call or email us to speak with a Certified Water Specialist.