Arsenic

The Exchange
9:00 am
Wed June 25, 2014

New Data Stokes Concerns About N.H.'s Drinking Water

Credit Bart / Flickr/CC

A recent survey of private wells in the Granite State found eighty thousand residents may be at risk of exposure to several toxins, including arsenic. Public water supplies, meanwhile, can be vulnerable to other forms of contamination and affected by severe weather from floods to droughts. We’ll look at these challenges, and possible solutions.

GUESTS:

Read more
Environment
5:00 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Arsenic Is Prevalent In Well Water, But Treatment Is Readily Available

The "filter train" on display at Secondwind Water Treatment
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

This is the second of two stories about arsenic in well-water.

Almost twenty years ago, Joe Ayotte got a well drilled at his house in Concord.

“As you can see it’s a bit of a mud-pit, and it’s very red,” says Ayotte surveying the site of his artesian well, which has since been retired from service, but continues to leach iron-stained water onto his lawn.

Ayotte had some bad luck. The well must have hit what he calls “rotten rock” and brought up massive amounts of minerals in the water, including so much iron that it destroyed his fixtures.

Read more
News Primer
1:26 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

News Primer: Worried About Your Water? How To Get Your Well Tested

Credit Dave G / Flickr CC

There are basically two options: the state lab and private well testers.

Read more
Environment
9:53 am
Thu June 19, 2014

What You Should Know About Arsenic & Your Well Water [Infographic]

Credit Sara Plourde / NHPR

Have you ever wondered how toxic elements like arsenic get into your well water? Do you know how many of New Hampshire's bedrock wells contain more arsenic than the EPA recommends for safe, potable water? If your well was one of them, would you know how to treat it?

Read through the graphic below to learn more about arsenic and well water.

Read more
Environment
5:30 am
Thu June 19, 2014

50,000 N.H. Wells At Risk Of High Arsenic, Negative Health Impacts

A rig for Cushing and Sons rills a new well on a property in Stoddard
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

At a house in Stoddard, a Cushing and Sons truck mounted rig pounds a drill bit into bedrock 90 feet below.

“What we’re hearing now is a pneumatic hammer,” says Bart Cushing, who together with his brother runs this family owned well-drilling business, “That’s a flat-based bit with carbide buttons. And it’s literally pounding the rock.”

These artesian groundwater wells are the norm these days: something on the order of 95 percent of new wells are drilled into the bedrock.

And there’s a reason for that.

Read more
Newscast
4:35 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

USGS: 80,000 N.H. Residents Could Be Drinking Contaminated Water

Credit Dennis Amith via Flickr CC

A new study from the US Geological Survey estimates that as many as 80,000 people in Southeastern New Hampshire could be drinking water from wells with unhealthy levels of contaminants.

The study finds nearly 50,000 people could be drinking elevated levels of arsenic, nearly 15,000 with manganese, and fewer than 10,000 could be consuming either high levels of uranium and lead.

Read more
The Exchange
9:00 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Addressing Arsenic

Credit mikecogh / Flickr Creative Commons

Most well-known as a poison once used between political or personal rivals, arsenic is now causing more problems at very low levels in our well water and food. We're looking into the sources of arsenic, the toxic effects it has on our health, and how to remediate it.

GUESTS:

Read more
Word of Mouth
11:42 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Mapping The Arsenic Seeping Into Our Diet

A screenshot of the U.S.G.S. map of arsenic concentrations in the U.S.

While many Americans struggle to trim sugar and fat from their diets, a far more dangerous ingredient may be seeping in…from the ground. Arsenic is an odorless, tasteless poison that exists in the earth’s crust. Last winter, the U.S. Geological Survey found that low levels of arsenic were present in forty percent of New Hampshire’s groundwater, for example,  with one in five wells measuring above ten parts-per-billion.

Independent researchers have also identified excessive levels of arsenic in water-intensive crops, including rice grown in the U.S. and abroad. Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist, columnist and blogger for Wired and The New York Times. She was given access to a U.S.G.S. map showing arsenic concentration across the U.S. ahead of its release to the public, and is joining us to share some of the findings. 

Read more