New Report Finds WV’s Groundwater ‘Generally Good’
The State Journal
9 December 2012
West Virginia's groundwater meets primary drinking-water criteria,
according to a recent, 10-year U.S. Geological Survey study.
The study is the most comprehensive assessment of West Virginia's
groundwater quality to-date, but there were some red flags.
In more than half of the groundwater samples, naturally occurring
iron and manganese exceeded secondary drinking-water criteria,
which are non-enforceable guidelines.
Also in the northwest area of the state, along with the Eastern
Panhandle, radon gas concentrations in groundwater frequently
exceeded a proposed maximum concentration level. That information
was obtained in a report performed along with the West Virginia
Department of Environmental Protection.
Some research has linked manganese and excess iron to
developmental delays in children. Some research also has found
that breathing radon gas increases the risk for lung cancer.
While public water supplies are treated to ensure that water
reaching the tap of households meets federal requirements, there
are no such requirements for private supplies, such as private
"I want to personally thank the scientists who persisted in this
monumental effort to gather an immense amount of data in a state
with complex geology on a very important topic: the safety of the
water we drink," USGS Director Marcia McNutt said in a news
release. "Overall, the results of this study are very good news
for those who rely on groundwater in West Virginia, although those
with private wells would be wise to get their water tested for a
few elements of possible concern."
About 42 percent of all West Virginians rely on groundwater for
their domestic water supply.
Scientists sampled groundwater for a wide range of natural and
manmade chemical characteristics for this study. All samples were
of raw, untreated groundwater.