Live Webcast for Residential Well Owners on Ensuring Safe Drinking Water

Residents Will Learn How To Avoid, Detect And Treat Contaminants In Private Water Supplies

On behalf of Gov. Mark Schweiker, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David E. Hess announced that DEP, in cooperation with the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and, will host a free live Internet webcast about contamination problems in private wells, springs and cisterns. The webcast is set for 7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, on

"Identifying water quality risks and taking steps to address them is key to enhancing the safety of private water supplies," Secretary Hess said. "Because private water systems are largely unregulated, and their owners have sole responsibility for their management, water quality and quantity problems are all too common."

The webcast is designed to provide rural residents with information to help them cost-effectively maintain a safe and plentiful water supply.

During the webcast, Penn State water-resource specialists will discuss drinking-water standards, proper well construction and location, land-use activities associated with individual pollutants, water testing and water treatment. Water conservation and managing a private water supply in times of drought also will be discussed, and specialists will answer questions submitted via telephone and fax.

"If you are one of the estimated three million Pennsylvanians who rely on a private well, spring or cistern, chances are the tap water you drink contains some form of contamination," said Penn State Cooperative Extension Water Resource Specialist Bryan Swistock. "Through this webcast, residents can learn how to avoid, detect and treat the contaminants they are likely to find in their water."

There are about one million private water supplies in Pennsylvania, mostly springs and wells fed by groundwater, and about 20,000 new wells are drilled in the state every year. Studies show that between 60 and 70 percent of these private sources do not meet all drinking-water safety standards.

Common problems in private water supplies include bacterial, lead, radon, nitrate and iron contamination, and acidity and corrosivity.

"Safe drinking water is vital," Executive Producer Timothy J. Schlitzer said. "This is a great example of how high-tech communications can help hundreds of people work to protect our most precious resource." "GreenWorks" is supported by DEP and the Environmental Fund for Pennsylvania (EFP). EFP is a not-for-profit organization with 19 participating organizations throughout the state.

EFP funds environmental education and improvement projects from contributions made through employee payroll-deduction programs established by businesses and the Commonwealth and other donations.


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