- Associated Press - Friday, February 23, 2018

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A survey of groundwater wells by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality along the north coast has found nearly 40 contaminants in residential and irrigation wells, a newspaper reported Friday.

Contaminants identified in Clatsop and Tillamook counties include nitrates, pesticides, metals and bacteria, The Statesman Journal reported. Many were within federal guidelines but some were not, including two wells that tested above the limit for arsenic.

The survey of 69 residential and irrigation wells included wells serving a fish hatchery and a public soccer field in the two counties and is part of an effort to compile groundwater aquifer data statewide that was authorized by state lawmakers in 2013.

Ten different pesticide-related chemicals were detected. All were at levels below health standards. But DEQ noted that little research has been done on the effect of multiple chemicals on human health.

The results were expected, said Paige Evans, who coordinates the groundwater project for DEQ.

“I would say nothing in this report is alarming,” she said. “The north coast has shallow, sandy … geology that make the aquifers vulnerable. It’s a very distinct area of the state.”

Well owners have been notified and provided information about how to fix the problems, she added.

About 600,000 Oregonians rely on private wells for drinking water. Public water systems, agriculture and industry also rely on groundwater.

The north coast study is the second to be completed under the program. In 2016, DEQ released a study of the Mid-Rogue Basin.

The program does not look at municipal water wells, which are regulated by the Oregon Health Authority. Oregon does not have water quality regulations for private wells.


Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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