The Oregon Health Authority has granted Benton County funds to conduct free well testing that will check for nitrate, arsenic, and coliform bacteria.
Bill Emminger, the Environmental Health Director, says the purpose of the project is to educate homeowners of well issues and how to maintain them. County officials are able to test about 60 more wells within county lines within the next month by doing a visual inspection of the wells, collecting water samples, then providing homeowners with a final report.
Emminger says Benton County has elevated levels of nitrates, especially in farmland areas. Of the county’s 10,000 wells, he says only about 23 percent have been tested.
“It’s an issue because we could have people living in those homes who are drinking the water,” he said. “If it’s fecal coliforms, it could cause some severe illness.”
Emminger says high arsenic levels can cause cancer, and nitrates can lead to blue baby syndrome and a higher risk for miscarriages for pregnant women.
Anyone who is interested in participating in the free program can get more information by clicking here.