Monday, December 11, 2006

West County Wells Reveal More Heavy Metals

Since finding high levels of heavy metal in several wells in the Gambrills area earlier in the year, the Health Department has now found lead levels above federal standards in three other nearby wells.

So, what happens next? The County expands the testing zone a bit more, and is looking to sample 25 more wells in the Crofton and Gambrills areas. Meanwhile, nearby residents continue to drink from wells that are likely poisoned.

Where are the metals coming from? Surprise, surprise:

"The cause of the high lead levels has not been determined, but the wells are situated in path of groundwater that flows from a fly ash landfill site operated by the Reliable Contracting Co. Inc. and Constellation Energy Group at the BBSS Sand and Gravel Mine."

It was certainly a brilliant idea to stockpile the groundwater re-charge area for much of Anne Arundel County with persistent poisons. I, for one, would not be surprised to see the presence of these heavy metals in wells considerably beyond the area currently being tested.

The Capital's piece on the situation also reveals that rather than testing wells proactively, the County only tests them reactively, such as when a private owner alerts them to a problem. The County Health Officer, Frances Phillips, is apparently just beginning to get a clue, "This experience ... really does raise concern that we have to have a good understanding of what is in our groundwater. We really don’t have good data." You would think a lack of "good data" on potable water quality might be something that would have alarmed the Health Officer well in advance of this looming disaster, no?

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