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Health Department Recognizes Groundwater Awareness Week

(Mason City) – The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health is recognizing National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 10- 16, 2013.

“Although most people know very little about it, groundwater is worthy of public recognition because of the role it plays in human lives and the environment,” said Sophia Walsh, Environmental Health Specialist, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health.

Groundwater is a very important source of water to Iowans as 82% of the population is served by groundwater supplies.  Of the individuals that use groundwater in Iowa, an estimated 450,000 use private wells for their water supply.

Private wells are not regulated after installation and therefore, it is the well owner’s responsibility to maintain a safe water supply.  In order to do this, the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health recommends that private well owners should properly maintain and test their well water annually for bacteria, nitrates and arsenic.  These potentially harmful contaminants are usually colorless, odorless, and tasteless and requires proper testing to be detected in a water supply.  These contaminants can be avoided or removed with proper well maintenance and/or treatment.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring contaminant present in some bedrock in Northern Iowa.  The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health is currently funded by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant to perform a five year study about arsenic in groundwater and how to drill new wells that are free of arsenic.

If you are interested in testing your private well, please contact your local public health agency.  In Cerro Gordo County, please contact Sophia Walsh at 641-421-9318 or

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