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Water quality and oil drilling – part 1

Environmental health is very important to me – so important in fact, I decided to make a career out of it, or at least a part time career. So when I considered moving in with my then soon to be husband, my main environmental concern was the water.

imgp1396He had an artesian well, which sounded, well, wonderful! What concerned me were the oil wells nearby. Might there be any contamination to his well water from the nearby drilling?

Months past, we got married and I did indeed move from the population-explosion of Charlotte, NC to small town, rural Utah. My concerns about the water did not fade – and I had reason to be concerned about it. It leaves bright orange red deposits on the toilet, sink and bathtub. If you fill a glass straight from the tap you can easily see particles suspended in the water. It certainly contains a lot of minerals – but what else might it contain that might not be health-promoting?

As serendipity sometimes has it, I was at a local library and noticed a flyer on the community board. The flyer was from the Utah Department of Health and was an offer to test well water for heavy metals and other contaminants as part of a study. I couldn’t believe my luck! I contacted them immediately and the lovely people at the Utah Department of Health were able to hook me (and a few nearby family members) up with water testing.

I have been filtering our drinking and cooking water with a Zero Water Filter while waiting for the results of the testing. However, the water we bathe with is not filtered, so there is still a possibility of exposure to contaminants. Before we make a decision on whether we need to install a whole home reverse osmosis filtration system, we are waiting for the results from the lab tests.

I am extremely curious to learn about the results of the testing, from a practical point of view, but also simply out of scientific curiosity. I will update you on our results when we receive them. In the meantime, if you find yourself in a similar quandry, why not contact your own Department of Health and inquire about water testing?