ORONO, Maine — As more studies suggest a link between the presence of germs and chemicals in well water to illnesses such as asthma and the development of cognitive disabilities in children, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will hold workshops across the state to educate well water users about the importance of regular testing and maintenance of private water systems.
Cooperative Extension Water Quality Scientist Laura Wilson will conduct a series of workshops designed to educate and raise awareness of the importance of testing privately owned well water.
“We’re trying to get the word out that the water you’re drinking may not be safe,” Wilson said. “There’s bacteria that can make you sick, but there’s also naturally occurring arsenic and radon that can be a long-term chronic health issue.”
The hour-long workshops are being held through adult education programs in Bucksport, Hampden, Orono, Steuben, Searsport and Sullivan. People who are interested in attending a session are encouraged to contact the local adult education office.
Some of the workshops are free, while others cost up to $6 to attend. The cost varies by adult education program.
Wilson will cover topics such as: taking care of a well, how to get well water tested and common well contaminants.
It is estimated that about half of Maine residents are drinking well water.
The Maine Center for Disease Control recommends testing a well every year for bacteria and nitrites, and every three years for chemicals such as arsenic, radon, lead, fluoride and uranium.
Wilson’s next workshop will be at Bucksport High School at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6.
The rest of the schedule is: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, at Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden; 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, in Orono, location to be determined; 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in Steuben, location to be determined; 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at Searsport Middle School; and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17, in Sullivan, location to be determined.