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Private well owners knew of survey, results

LOCK HAVEN — Homeowners who have private water wells on their property were made aware of a recent water quality test done by the United States Geological Survey, according to Clinton County Grants Administrator Gabriel Caprio.

Caprio said the results showed 57 percent of 54 Clinton County wells that were tested showed high levels of coliform bacteria.

And that information was also conveyed to the well owners, Caprio said.

It may alarm some folks about our groundwater quality, but in fact overall, it is very good,” said Caprio.

“Sugar Valley’s limestone/karst geology has long been a problem for groundwater quality. The Conservation District is right now working with USGS on a surface water synoptic sampling of Fishing Creek, as a followup to this groundwater study,” he said.

Caprio said that the wells that were tested are owned by private citizens and any information on their identity would need to be procured through USGS.

“No further testing will be done on a base-line water quality level in Clinton County that I am aware of. This study was more or less just to get a snapshot of Clinton County’s groundwater hydro-physical and chemical characteristics. Managing private domestic supply wells in Pennsylvania is solely the responsibility of the homeowner. I know the USGS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend owners have their wells tested at least once a year,” he said.

USGS proposed to do this study, county by county, when Marcellus gas drilling began, Caprio further explained.

“They wanted a baseline to measure future impacts against. This is a voluntary program, and Clinton and Potter were the fifth and sixth counties to be studied in the Marcellus region. The information gained from the first few studies has been so successful, USGS wants to take it statewide, and I am aware of several more counties who are in the sampling stage right now,” he said.

“When our well sampling was completed early last year, each property owner who had volunteered their well for testing was sent a letter with the detailed results from their samples. Any well owner who had a problem considered to be a health hazard needing correction, was instructed who to contact for assistance and how to correct the problem,” Caprio said. “USGS and the Conservation District will be giving a much more in-depth presentation sometime later this summer that will answer all questions.”

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