Currently the Safe Drinking Water Act only regulates public water, meaning that private wells and bottled water are not required to meet the same standards. Included in the 76 chemicals that are regulated for municipal water, the “right to know” is also provided — something that is not accessible to people who cannot afford to have their private well water tested.

Over half of Maine residents rely on well water as their primary water source, including drinking. In central Maine, that percentage is higher than average. Kennebec and Somerset counties alone report wells testing above state guidelines for five out of six and all six chemicals tested, respectively (arsenic, uranium, fluoride, manganese, nitrate, and nitrite). However, this only represents a small portion of wells and does not give individual data, which would allow for more informed decisions regarding intake and potential filtering.

The EPA has recently proposed a new standard in conjunction with the Safe Drinking Water Act that limits the amounts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that are allowed in public water supplies. Fairfield has some of the highest concentrations of PFAS in ground water in the nation due to sludge spreading on some of the local farms. Without access to testing, however, this is often overlooked by consumers as well as government officials and those who cannot afford to test their water are being denied rights set forth by SDWA.

Fairfield is just one example of a place that should be provided with full knowledge of the potential pollutants; it happens to be particularly important to me. But it is one of many across Maine that need L.D. 1006 to pass in order to increase well testing in rural Maine. For the safety of yourself and other Mainers, I ask you to encourage your legislators to pass L.D. 1006.


Sarah Jarosz


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