With the sudden increase in gas and oil drilling leases, the Columbiana County Health Department's new expanded water testing program should come as welcome news to concerned property owners.
Even though service areas of the Buckeye Water District have been growing rapidly, many county homeowners still depend on wells as their water source.
Known as the Private Water Monitoring Program, the new offering by the county health department will give residents three options for testing the water from their wells, dependent on what they can afford and what they're looking for in their water supply. Although the program may seem pricey to some, it is completely voluntary for property owners.
Currently the health department regulates private water systems related to bacteria and nitrate standards on new or altered wells. That regulation will continue, but the voluntary testing will analyze the water for other materials, such as arsenic, conductivity, sodium, chloride, barium and total dissolved solids in the basic test.
The basic test will cost $210 and will include a well analysis and flow test, with the water sample sent to a certified lab in Coshocton. The health department sanitarians will gather the water samples at the request of residents.
For $505, the moderate testing will cover all the material, analysis and tests from the basic test along with more chemicals, such as beryllium, copper, nickel, magnesium, calcium, iron, lead, and oil and grease.
The complete testing package, for $755, will include everything from the moderate testing and an additional test for 55 volatile organic chemicals.
Health department officials said that judging from the phone calls they have already received there is widespread interest in increased testing.
Kudos to the health department for identifying a need and quickly creating a program to address property owners' concerns.