Cape Cod Times - Cheers & Jeers: Private wells need robust testing

February 19, 2016

Excerpt: Researchers from the Silent Spring Institute recently tested water from 20 private wells on Cape Cod and found 27 contaminants, including a dozen pharmaceuticals and a variety of consumer product chemicals.

Seventy percent of the wells contained nonstick and stain-resistant chemicals, two-thirds of the wells contained pharmaceuticals, and 25 percent contained flame-retardant chemicals.

The research was recently published in the journal "Science of the Total Environment."

Backyard septic systems were identified as the likely source of contamination.

"Given that 44 million Americans rely on private wells and 25 percent of all American households have a septic system, the findings add to growing health concerns about unregulated chemicals in drinking water," wrote Alexandra Goho, director of communications at Silent Spring, in a press release. "This is the first study to show septic systems as sources of PFASs (nonstick and stain-resistant chemicals) in drinking water from private wells."

Dr. Laurel Schaider of Silent Spring is the lead author of the study.

Water Research