Failure to Reapply Spells End to Federal Funding for Well Tests

Safe Drinking Water
Portland Press Herald , Maine Sunday Telegram

"Emma Halas-O’Connor, a coordinator with the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a group that fights toxic chemicals, called it “a case of political ideology trumping public health.”

“I find that pretty disappointing,” she said of the grant’s end. “That was the one source of funding that was going toward outreach and education for people to get their wells tested.”

Statewide, 150,000 people could be drinking from wells with higher concentrations of arsenic than those allowed by the federal government in public drinking water, according to a Dartmouth College study. In Kennebec County, 29 percent of private wells tested by the state from 2005 to 2009 had higher concentrations than the federal standard, more than any other Maine county.

The issue got a lot of attention in 2014, when a five-year study of 272 students in grades 3 through 5 at Kennebec County schools was released by Columbia University and the University of New Hampshire, finding that exposure to even low levels of arsenic in water could lower IQ levels. That led to calls for an increased state role in testing...." 


Read the full article here. This piece was published in the Maine Sunday Telegram, Portland Press Herald and written by Michael Shepherd of the Kennebec Journal.