South Health District encourages private well testing

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The Georgia Department of Public Health's Chemical Hazard Program released a report last month of high arsenic levels in some private wells in the southern part of the state

The DPH's Southern Heath District is now encouraging residents in it's ten counties, including Ben Hill, Colquitt, Cook Berrien and Tift, to have their wells tested.

"People that have private wells, it is completely their responsibility to check on this kind of stuff," said Courtney Sheeley, the PIO of the South Health District.

There are a few ways to test your well, but the health district recommends contacting your local cooperative extensions office. For $30, they'll analyze a sample of your water and let you know if it's safe to drink.

Officials say short term exposure to elevated levels of arsenic in drinking water isn't an immediate health risk, but long term consumption could be dangerous.

"We do want to make sure that people are aware that there is a chance, there's always a chance, that you can get something from consuming water that has bacteria or chemicals in it," explains Sheeley

If your well tests positive for high levels of arsenic, UGA Extension Coordinator James Morgan says that "there are water treatment systems to correct the arsenic problem; those can be gathered from the Ag and Environmental lab in Athens."

To contact you local county cooperative extensions office call 1-800-ASK-UGA1, and for a look at the complete report click here.