A study is looking into the quality of groundwater for property owners in some areas of Deschutes County.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is offering free well water testing in the southern parts of the county, including the communities of Sunriver and La Pine.
“The southern Deschutes County area has porous, volcanic soil and many shallow groundwater aquifers, both of which allow the potential for contamination,” DEQ said in a statement. “Possible sources of groundwater contamination include failing septic systems, current or prior application of fertilizers and pesticides, and leaking underground fuel tanks.”
They will test between 60 and 100 wells starting next spring. Those interested in being part of the study can contact DEQ at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-693-5736. DEQ will provide study participants with information on proper well maintenance, the health effects of common contaminants and options for water treatment.
While most of these contaminants are safe for human consumption at low levels, it’s when they start climbing when it can be dangerous.
“You know, contribute to everything from cancers or reproductive illnesses,: said Laura Glem with Oregon DEQ. “Nitrate is very dangerous for pregnant women and babies. And so it affects our health. And that’s why we need to be concerned about it. And if we know about it, then we can take steps to put in filtration systems and treat that water before we drink it.”
DEQ says owners are responsible for maintaining and monitoring private wells in Oregon and that the state does not have water quality regulations for private wells. Well water testing is only required if the property is being sold.
The Oregon Health Authority recommends people test their well water regularly.