NGWA Submits Comments on Proposed CDC Project

NGWA submitted comments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on November 18 regarding a proposed CDC information collection project about private well systems.

The CDC invited comments about the project, which is designed to assess the health risks associated with exposure to arsenic and uranium in drinking water from private wells in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Mexico.

The states were chosen because all three have groundwater-supplied systems with violations of radionuclides regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The CDC states the information collected would be used for public health protection activities conducted by requesting agencies. Arsenic and uranium in groundwater can both be treated with onsite treatment systems.

NGWA’s comments were put together by NGWA Regulatory Affairs Manager Chuck Job and NGWA members Ken A. Stelman of Wood Environment and Infrastructure Solutions in Denver, Colorado, and Stuart A. Smith, CGWP, of Ground Water Science in Poland, Ohio.

The comments raised issues about the survey and its association with the geology. NGWA noted that the survey protocol should consider potentially available and useful geological information, such as the well logs of local water well contractors and geologists.

Interpretation of the survey results should also consider other possible household activities and sources that could cause elevated arsenic and uranium in groundwater. Among these are a well’s proximity to mining activity, use of pesticides containing arsenic, and the use of road salt that once dissolved can percolate with rainwater into the vadose zone and release uranium from bedrock. Use of on-site wastewater treatment (septic) systems not treating for arsenic and uranium can concentrate contaminants in proximity to a private water system as well.

“NGWA is the leading advocate for protecting the water quality of our country’s private well systems,” said NGWA CEO Terry S. Morse, CAE, CIC. “We see submitting these comments as an important part of our efforts.”