LETTER: Well water test leads to concerns: expert

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Editor: I would like to thank The Chatham Voice for publishing a previous letter on Aug. 25 wherein I discussed the recent all-hazard Investigation of well water in Chatham-Kent and the report that was produced by the expert panel that advised the investigation.

In that letter I pointed out that future work on the potential health hazards associated with well water in and around the all-hazard investigation area should include sampling and analysis of fine-grained sediment that is known to be in suspension in the water extracted from some wells. Such analyses were, in fact, recommended in the expert panel’s report that I participated in drafting.

The expert panel also recommended that should significant concentrations of potentially toxic substances, notably metals, be identified within the sediment, then bioavailability testing should be considered to determine if those metals might be sufficiently absorbed within the body after ingestion so as to pose a potential health concern.

Here I wish to mention that a household situated in Ward 4 of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent recently took the initiative to have a sample from their private well analyzed by a reputable, certified laboratory. The analytical results for the sediment reveal that several metals are present in rather high concentrations, notably antimony (840 mg/kg), arsenic (4,200 mg/kg), barium (610,000 mg/kg), cadmium (180 mg/kg), lead (48,000 mg/kg) and nickel (3,200 mg/kg), where mg/kg is read as micrograms per kilogram of sediment.

Based on those results, it would seem that sampling and analyses of the sediment from more water wells in the area would be warranted as well as testing for bioavailability of the potentially toxic metals that are identified. The new results mentioned herein have also been shared by way of e-mail communication with the mayor and councillors of Chatham-Kent for their consideration.

 

Keith Benn

Port Lambton

 

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