Contaminated water news brief – Stephenson County Health Department. Dry weather could impact wells – Water testing is encouraged.

Posted in: Drinking Water News, Uncategorized, Water Contamination


Contaminated Water
News In Brief
July 10

The material posted is
courtesy of
Travis Morse
The Journal-Standard
Posted Jul 05, 2012
Stephenson County
Save the Water™
Water Research
Education Dept.
and is shared as
educational material only

Contaminated drinking Water

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Dry weather could impact wells

Water testing is encouraged

By Travis Morse The Journal-Standard Posted Jul 05, 2012

Ed Specht, director of environmental health for the Stephenson County Health Department, looks over a well at Friends Forever Humane Society.

Freeport, Ill.By Travis Morse The Journal-Standard Posted Jul 05, 2012

Local health officials are urging rural Stephenson County residents to have their wells tested if they notice any difference in their drinking water’s taste or clarity.

With the hot, dry weather this summer, experts worry that the lack of precipitation could impact water quality for area wells, said Ed Specht, director of environmental health for the Stephenson County Health Department.

Precipitation serves to replenish a well’s water supply and when there is less water in the ground near a well, then the well’s pump will pull water from sources farther away, Specht said. In situations like that, there is more of a risk of well water contamination, he said.

“The water that is presented in a well is actually water that is recharged from precipitation in and around the well,” Specht said. “Because of the lack of rain and excessive heat, we have seen an unprecedented drop in water tables. … People may potentially find out it will affect their wells.”

As the water level in the ground drops, a well will start to pull in water from other layers of soil or from aquifers that are farther away. That is why you should have your well water tested immediately if you notice a change in the water’s taste or clarity, Specht said.

“Get it tested if that’s the case, because it could be pulling (water) from a different aquifer,” Specht said.

Area residents with wells on their property should prioritize their water use, Specht said.

If you get your water tested and there is a problem, you will likely have to contact a licensed well driller or pump installer to address the situation. In some cases, the well’s pump may need to be lowered or the well may have to be drilled deeper. Also, an all new well may have to be created in some cases.

Well water testing kits are available at the health department’s Environmental Health Office, which is located in the highway building on Lamm Road. The kits are also available at the health department facility at 10 W. Linden St. in Freeport.

For more information, contact Ed Specht at (815) 599-0344.

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