ORONO, Maine — Scientists from organizations across the state, including the University of Maine, will attend the 2011 Northeast Private Well Symposium on Nov. 14-15 in Southbury, Conn., to present research on water quality issues.
Presenters from Maine will include: Michael Foley, senior geologist at the Maine Geological Survey; John Peckenham, director of the Maine Water Resources Research Institute at the University of Maine Senator George J. Mitchell Center; Richard Behr of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection; Andrew Tolman, assistant director of the Maine Center for Disease Control’s Drinking Water Program; and Laura Wilson, assistant scientist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Foley and Peckenham each will give talks on analyzing contaminants in private drinking water wells in Maine. Behr will discuss manganese and organic carbon in groundwater. Tolman will speak on pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supply. Wilson will attempt to influence conference participants to use social media such as Facebook as a tool to raise awareness about water quality in Maine.
“I often receive calls from homeowners who are surprised when a well water test result indicates a problem,” Wilson said in a press release. “Many people in Maine simply don’t know about the naturally occurring contaminants that are fairly common here, such as arsenic, radon, and uranium.”
Sponsors for this year’s conference include the UMaine Extension and the DEP.
Wilson has been on the conference planning committee for the biannual event since 2005. This year’s topics include the impact of hydrofracturing on groundwater, testing private well water and interpreting the results, public health and regulation of private wells, groundwater quality issues in New England, and arsenic and manganese in drinking water.
More than 100 individuals including academics, government officials, environmental regulators, students, well drillers and other water quality professionals attended the 2009 conference in Portland.