Federal study highlights corrosive potential of Maine groundwater

Federal study highlights corrosive potential of Maine groundwater

The tests by the U.S. Geological Survey show that Maine households could be at a higher risk of exposure to harmful levels of lead or other metals, depending on the age of their plumbing systems.


Why Arsenic is Bad

People who drink water with too much arsenic for many years are more likely to get cancer. Arsenic can cause skin, bladder and lung cancers. It may cause low birth weight and affect brain development in babies if pregnant women drink water with too much arsenic in it. Arsenic can also affect brain development in young children. Other problems from drinking water with very high arsenic levels include: stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet and changes in skin. Your chance of having any of these health problems depends on:

  • how much arsenic is in your water;
  • how much water you drink;
  • how long you have been drinking the water.


The Maine Division of Environmental Health recommends that you…

  • Test your well water once a year for bacteria and nitrates and every 3 to 5 years for arsenic, fluoride, uranium, radon, lead, and manganese.
  • If you have never tested your well water, we recommend doing a comprehensive test. Other times to test your well include:
    • If you are expecting a baby
    • Your water changes in smell, taste, and color
    • Your well runs dry and comes back
    • When buying a new home
    • After installing a water treatment system or replacing parts of your treatment system
    • After any work is done on your well

Selling your home is the wrong time to find out you have a radon problem.

Source: Radon & Home Sales – Maine Division of Environmental Health

Real estate transactions are the wrong time to find out that there is high concentration of a naturally occurring lung cancer inducing radioactive gas emanating throughout your home from under it’s foundation…(or maybe escaping from your drinking water!). If not for the pre-sale home inspections that are typically requested by prospective buyers, very few people would have ever heard of this invasive and harmful gas. Unfortunately, this is often the first time the house has ever been tested for radon. In Maine, (statistically) one out of three homeowners are then told that the home they have been living in for years (if not decades) has a radon level that is unhealthy and unacceptable to the buyers, who subsequently propose as a condition of sale, that a radon mitigation system is installed at the owner’s expense . This sometimes jeopardizes the sale of the property to the dismay of the owner, seller, as well as the real estate agents involved.

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