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San Luis Valley household wells focus of EPA safe drinking water effort

Release Date: 04/10/2007
Contact Information: Art Palomares 303-312-6053, palomares.art@epa.gov; Tami Thomas-Burton 303-312-6581, thomas-burton@epa.gov

Project includes testing household wells, educating residents

      (Denver, Colo. - April 10, 2007) Since June 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been working in partnership with the citizens of San Luis Valley, Colo., to ensure clean and safe drinking water from their household drinking water wells.

      To recognize the community for its initiative and collaborative effort, EPA officials will travel to the San Luis Valley on April 12, 2007, to present six community leaders of the San Luis Valley with the U.S. EPA Friends of Environmental Protection Award for “outstanding environmental stewardship and outstanding environmental education in a rural setting.”

      The San Luis Valley Drinking Water Well Project is the first regional project to provide free sampling and analysis of drinking water from private wells. It is estimated that 30 percent of the San Luis Valley area residents are not served by public water systems and obtain their water from household wells.

      EPA regional administrator Robert E. Roberts said, “Household wells are water sources that are not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, leaving well users and owners responsible for the quality of their own drinking water. EPA wants to ensure that residents of the San Luis Valley have clean, safe drinking water for themselves and their families.”

      Water testing results indicate that 28.5% of household wells were positive for bacteria, 1.4% for nitrates, 11.9% for arsenic, 1.4% lead, 3.1% for uranium, and 3.6% for fluoride.

      Participants with positive bacteria test results were instructed on how to apply the shock chlorination technique to make their drinking water safe. Participants were also provided information on point of use treatment systems, such as reverse osmosis.

      EPA estimates that of the 400 households participating in this project, more than 70 percent have taken steps to treat their drinking water.

      Citizens with questions should call Tami Thomas-Burton at 303-312-6581.
      Further information on this Community Drinking Water Well Project is available on the EPA web page http://www.epa.gov/region08/ej/ejinitiatives.html#slv.
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