The deadline for free arsenic well tests has been extended to February 28 for all well owners in Camden and Rockport.
Due to the success of the program, the Camden and Rockport Conservation Committees and the towns of Rockport and Camden are extending the deadline to test for arsenic in well water to February 28, 2018. To date, 30 percent of the sterile testing bottles have been returned and evaluated. Results are mailed or emailed to the homeowner within a week after a testing bottle is submitted to MaineWater.
According to the Maine Center for Disease Control, in Knox County one in five wells has too much arsenic. Arsenic has no taste or odor. People exposed to arsenic for an extended period of time are more likely to get lung, skin and/or bladder cancer. High exposure has also been linked to low birthweights and affected brain development. Other side-effects include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet and changes in skin.
Testing for arsenic in well water is recommended every three to five years. It is easy to do and takes less than 10 minutes.
To participate in this program, pick up a sterile bottle and instructions at either the Camden or Rockport town office, or at Maine Water on Route 17 in Rockport.
The arsenic testing program is designed to complement the Maine State Housing Authority grants for eligible homeowners with private well water who are able to show high levels of arsenic contamination (http://www.mainehousing.org/programs-services/HomeImprovement/homeimprovementdetail/arsenic-abatement-program) . Single-family homeowners whose income is at or below 120 percent of area median income, and whose well water has more than 10 μg/L arsenic, may be eligible for financial assistance to help remediate the high arsenic levels.