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News - 2007

SAIF Water Wells, Inc. in the Newspapers

"SAIF Water Wells Inc., the Northern Neck’s own nonprofit that provides information and hands-on help to local citizens and governments regarding all types of water issues, has learned through investigations and laboratory analyses of hundreds of local shallow wells in the Northern Neck that even today “the primary cause of pollution is inadequately maintained wells and general lack of knowledge on the part of homeowners and plumbers as to what is needed to protect the water supply."

Rappahannock Record
February 1, 2007
Re: Greentown Community


"SAIF Water Wells Inc., a local clean-drinking-water advocacy group."

Richmond Times-Dispatch
April 1, 2007
By LAWRENCE LATANE III


"Gayl Fowler, who is a local well water expert with Safe Affordable Investigated for our Future (SAIF) and is a consultant to the county on water issues, gave her assessment of the situation after the meeting."

Northumberland Echo
April 4, 2007
re: Puddingland Drum Dump Site

"[SAIF Water Wells Inc.]...has provided hundreds of Northern Neck families with safe water and septic systems…"

Richmond Times-Dispatch
April 16, 2007
By Frank Delano Free Lance-Star




EPA Cleans Up Dump Site

The following letter appeared in the Rappahannock Record (April 5, 2007) and the Northumberland Echo (April 4, 2007) detailing our evaluation of the EPA work of cleaning up a site in Lancaster County. The following correction should be noted: Puddingland is not a "super fund" site in the usual sense of that word. While money was used from the superfund, it was actually a fairly minor clean up which will not appear on the list of national priorities.

April 2, 2007

Letter to the Editor

Water wells were among the concerns raised at the EPA briefing this week on the Puddingland Superfund Site. The EPA staff reached the conclusion that there is no need to test neighboring water wells because the materials in the dumpsite have not moved from the site or affected the groundwater under and around it.

The EPA staff presenting the information were well-trained scientists, not simply government administrators. While it may be difficult to understand why they could reach their conclusion without testing any wells, the chemicals found at Puddingland are common to petroleum products. They could easily be found in a shallow well for many reasons such as old cars parked near the well or someone having changed motor oil near the well.

Artesian wells are protected from surface contaminants because they draw water from hundreds of feet down with many layers of clay to prevent contamination.

There are many ways shallow wells can be contaminated, but these are issues that are entirely unrelated to the Puddingland incident. Bacteria are the most common problem. Kits to test for bacteria are available at the Health Department for homeowners to send water samples to a private lab. These do not check for chemicals such as found at Puddingland, but they are a good screening tool to tell whether there may be disease-causing organisms in the water.

A laboratory test alone is not adequate to evaluate a shallow well. A good routine for homeowners is to 1) check the well for leaks above and below ground; 2) make sure the cap fits tightly with no holes for bugs and leaves; 3) make sure the environment immediately around the well is free of trash and debris; 4) do not park cars near the well; and 5) chlorinate the well water anytime work is done on the well or the plumbing. A lab test for bacteria is appropriate annually and anytime there is a change in the taste or appearance of the water.

If the well fails a bacteria test it can be disinfected with chlorine. The chlorine is flushed out of the well afterwards so the well water will not taste like city water. Directions for chlorinating a well can be obtained at the Health Departments, Cooperative Extension Service offices, and SAIF Water wells.

It has been a very upsetting ordeal for people who live in the neighborhoods near Puddingland. Thank God we have some well documented answers that can give us peace of mind.

Gayl Fowler
PO Box 839
Burgess, VA 22432
804 580-2079

A laboratory test alone is not adequate to evaluate a shallow well.

A good routine for homeowners is to
1) check the well for leaks above and below ground;
2) make sure the cap fits tightly with no holes for bugs and leaves;
3) make sure the environment immediately around the well is free of trash and debris;
4) do not park cars near the well; and
5) chlorinate the well water anytime work is done on the well or the plumbing.
6)A lab test for bacteria is appropriate annually and anytime there is a change in the taste or appearance of the water.

If the well fails a bacteria test it can be disinfected with chlorine. The chlorine is flushed out of the well afterwards so the well water will not taste like city water. Directions for chlorinating a well can be obtained at the Health Departments, Cooperative Extension Service offices, and SAIF Water wells.

 

 

 

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