Assessing Drinking Water Quality on Colorado's Western Slope
The goal of this project was to assist in a study of risks to privately-owned, unregulated drinking water wells in six counties on the Colorado's Western Slope. The study is entering its third year of funding provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and it is directed by Kenneth Nordstrom, the director of Environmental Health at the Health Department of Delta County. The six counties, which include Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel, are part of the West Central Public Health Partnership (WCPHP).
The graduate research assistant, Holly Miller, from the University of Colorado assisted in evaluating the well water quality from the first two years of the five year CDC grant. Of the 457 wells analyzed, 10% have arsenic concentrations exceeding the Colorado primary drinking water standard maximum contaminant level. A website was developed to publicly display and provide information about well water quality. A spatial inventory of the constructed wells per county was created and linked to the homeowner’s contact information. These tools will be used to encourage testing of their privately-owned well and educate well owners about the potential hazards of drinking groundwater.
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