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#4488585 - 08/14/17 05:56 PM Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long)
GrtArtiste Offline

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 733
Loc: Ohio
In 1926 my ancestors acquired a 180 acre farm in Green Oak Twp MI (near Brighton) not far from the Huron River and a house that was built in 1915 (which still exists). No one knows who the previous owners were or how the land was used. My grandparents & great-grandparents grew crops which were mainly corn and alfalfa, and they had their own cows-hogs-sheep-chickens-etc. My grandparents had seven kids on that farm and the farming continued until the mid 1950s. Three of those kids are still alive including my mother who is 84 and two is 90 and the other is almost 93. My grandfather lived to be 90, my grandmother 86.

FF to 2017. I have a cousin who has been living in the farmhouse since approx 1991. She is being treated for leukemia and we know that it is hereditary because four members of her motherís family also had the disease. However, during the course of her chemo it was discovered that my cousin has been ingesting much, I donít know. After investigation, it was determined that the arsenic is in the well water at the farmhouse. The well water has been deemed unsafe for drinking or cooking.

Now, the question is this: If the site was not contaminated when my ancestors acquired it, what might they have done (probably unintentionally) to introduce arsenic into the well water? Could it have been a fertilizer that was used? My second thought is the Huron River. A lot or war production took place in that general area during the 1940s and maybe someone wasnít too careful about what chemicals got dumped into the water.

Iím sure there is more to this story but this is all I know at this time. When my grandparents passed, the land was parceled out for home-building and perhaps 200 homes within a two mile radius have been built there since 1991 and they are all drawing water from a well.

Edited by GrtArtiste (08/14/17 06:07 PM)

#4488591 - 08/14/17 06:05 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
spasm3 Online   content

Registered: 05/30/10
Posts: 8783
Loc: North Carolina
Lead arsenate was used as a crop pesticide until around the 50's. How deep is the well?

Edited by spasm3 (08/14/17 06:06 PM)
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#4488598 - 08/14/17 06:17 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
madRiver Offline

Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3609
Loc: New England
Arsenic can be naturally occurring or introduced.

Has the well ever been tested? Portion of the homes in my area have it naturally occurring in my town. They used to mine for it here. It is a treatable condition in well water.

#4488600 - 08/14/17 06:19 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: spasm3]
GrtArtiste Offline

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 733
Loc: Ohio
I do not know how deep the well is, but if I had to place a bet I'd say that the depth is only as deep as was absolutely necessary.

#4488604 - 08/14/17 06:22 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
PimTac Offline

Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4641
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Community wells are highly regulated and for good reasons. There must be periodic testing though if I was a homeowner there, I would have my water tested independently.

Were the test samples taken in different locations? Ex; kitchen faucet and right at the well. Also as mentioned above, well depth will play a big role here. Another idea would be to test the river water as well.
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#4488605 - 08/14/17 06:23 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
Elevguy Offline

Registered: 02/19/15
Posts: 64
Loc: Hamburg Michigan
I live a couple of miles from there my well tested good

#4488606 - 08/14/17 06:23 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
Cujet Offline

Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 7240
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
I live in South Florida and have a shallow well. The water transit time is measured in hours. When it rains, any contaminates are carried down through the sands and then drawn in by the well. After the Japanese reactor melted down, the winds carried the isotopes near here and they were measurable in the puddles, even at my house. I was very concerned about contamination. However, it seems most of the radiation went North of us and my water does not set off my meter. Either through dilution or the minimal levels, I can't measure it.

However, the local soil is known to hold contaminates at fully elevated levels for decades and in some cases, a half century. The pesticides and fertilizers used around here have accumulated in certain catch basins.

In many areas, arsenic exists naturally in the water supply. In other words it's (unfortunately) normal to have high levels in some areas.

Edited by Cujet (08/14/17 06:24 PM)

#4488607 - 08/14/17 06:24 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
eljefino Offline

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32775
Loc: ME
Wife does groundwater pollution for a living.

Arsenic gets your kidneys not your blood but it could be some other chemical.

#4488610 - 08/14/17 06:26 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
edhackett Offline

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 1937
Loc: Sequim, WA
Were there any smelters in the area in the past? Stack emissions of copper smelters contain a lot of arsenic that can contaminate the soil and groundwater. Arsenic can occur naturally in groundwater, although that is more common out here in the West. Doing some soil sampling may be in order to help locate the source.

Do you know the level of arsenic found in the water? That would be helpful to know to see how severe the problem is. As was mentioned, a well into a deeper aquifer may be needed.

Never attribute to engineers that into which politicians, lawyers, accountants, and marketeers have poked their fingers.

#4488620 - 08/14/17 06:32 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
bugeye Offline

Registered: 04/10/15
Posts: 79
Loc: Pennsylvania
The arsenic may be from the rock strata in the ground. Perhaps Michigan state government has an environmental agency with information on the soil conditions.

#4488622 - 08/14/17 06:33 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
GrtArtiste Offline

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 733
Loc: Ohio
I have included all the info that I know so far. I will post further if more info becomes available. Thanks for your interest.

#4488631 - 08/14/17 06:45 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
Oldtom Offline

Registered: 07/05/14
Posts: 336
Loc: Cecil County Maryland
A reverse osmosis system will remove 99% plus of the arsenic and is cheap and easy to maintain. RO systems do waste water in that they produce about 4 gallons of waste water for every gallon of drinking water. This does not matter with a well. My relatives lived in Queenstown MD and many wells there have arsenic due to chicken farming. Chickens were fed arsenic compounds and the manure was widely used as fertilizer. My FIL installed an RO system and the filtered water tested free of arsenic. Pure Water Products of Denton TX has dedicated arsenic filters that may help. Sorry for your situation.

#4488637 - 08/14/17 06:53 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
oilpsi2high Offline

Registered: 12/18/14
Posts: 1385
Loc: NY, USA, etc.
How do you know it's from the groundwater? Your pipes, depending on material, could be leaching arsenic and lead. Especially if they are as old as the house.

#4488683 - 08/14/17 07:44 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
Wheel Offline

Registered: 12/22/11
Posts: 572
Loc: Upstate NY
I'd check with others nearby about their wellwater. My suspicion is that it's naturally occurring in the ground. It is not unusual for wells to change over time, especially if there has been nearby development that may make some veins work differently in your well.

That said, many states do have lists of contamination sites from the giant to tiny.

What sort of well do you have, drilled, dug, driven ?
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#4488686 - 08/14/17 07:47 PM Re: Know Anything About Groundwater Pollution? (long) [Re: GrtArtiste]
Rhymingmechanic Offline

Registered: 08/13/04
Posts: 1343
Loc: VA
According to the Michigan DEQ, Livingston County groundwater averages well above the EPA's recommended limit. The information here, at least, doesn't offer much about sources except to say arsenic can be naturally occurring. Check the first two links for basic information. The county map gives more detail about tested sites.,4561,7-135-3313_3675_3690-76500--,00.html

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