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Arsenic in Drinking Water


Indications & Testing

It is not possible to predict if a well will have an elevated arsenic concentration. Arsenic has no smell, taste or coloration when dissolved in water, even at high concentrations. Only laboratory testing can determine the presence and concentration of arsenic in well water.
(Information about arsenic provided by NH Dept. of Environmental Services)

Causes and Sources of Arsenic

Arsenic (chemical symbol As) occurs naturally in many parts of the United States, including New Hampshire and other areas of New England. In fact, arsenic was mined commercially in New Hampshire during the 1800s. Arsenic also occurs as a result of human activities. Activities that could have left arsenic residuals include, for example, apple orchard spraying and coal ash disposal. Arsenic may be either a residual of man’s past activities or naturally occurring.
(Information about arsenic provided by NH Dept. of Environmental Services)

It ís hard to believe that water that looks, smells, and tastes fine may not be safe to drink. But the truth is that many private wells in Maine have water that is high in arsenic. Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical found in soil and rocks. Some rocks have higher levels of arsenic, and this may explain why some drilled wells have high arsenic water. And in some areas, past use of arsenic-containing pesticides on blueberry, apple and potato crops may add to the arsenic water problem. The Bureau of Health recommends that all household wells be tested for arsenic.
(Information about arsenic levels in Maine provided by Maine.gov)

New Hampshire & Maine Limits for Arsenic

New Hampshire
MCL of 0.05 mg/L in effect until January 23, 2006 January 24, 2006
MCL of 0.010 mg/L will become effective 006 January 24, 2006.
(Information about arsenic levels in New Hampshire provided by NH Dept. of Environmental Services)

Maine
0.01 milligrams of arsenic per liter of water
(Information about arsenic levels in Maine provided by Maine.gov)

Recommended Treatment

Reverse Osmosis System with Arsenic 3 or Arsenic 5 Filter

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