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Article

Prevalence of Microbiological and Chemical Contaminants in Private Drinking Water Wells in Maryland, USA

1
Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, 4200 Valley Drive, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2
Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Maryland, 2200 Symons Hall, 7998 Regents Drive, College Park, MD 20742, USA
3
Department of Family Science, University of Maryland School of Public Health, 4200 Valley Drive, College Park, MD 20742, USA
4
University of Maryland Extension, University of Maryland, 2200 Symons Hall, 7998 Regents Drive, College Park, MD 20742, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1686; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081686
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water Quality and Human Health)
Although many U.S. homes rely on private wells, few studies have investigated the quality of these water sources. This cross-sectional study evaluated private well water quality in Maryland, and explored possible environmental sources that could impact water quality. Well water samples (n = 118) were collected in four Maryland counties and were analyzed for microbiological and chemical contaminants. Data from the U.S. Census of Agriculture were used to evaluate associations between the presence of animal feeding operations and well water quality at the zip code level using logistic regression. Overall, 43.2% of tested wells did not meet at least one federal health-based drinking water standard. Total coliforms, fecal coliforms, enterococci, and Escherichia coli were detected in 25.4%, 15.3%, 5.1%, and 3.4% of tested wells, respectively. Approximately 26%, 3.4%, and <1% of wells did not meet standards for pH, nitrate-N, and total dissolved solids, respectively. There were no statistically significant associations between the presence of cattle, dairy, broiler, turkey, or aquaculture operations and the detection of fecal indicator bacteria in tested wells. In conclusion, nearly half of tested wells did not meet federal health-based drinking water standards, and additional research is needed to evaluate factors that impact well water quality. However, homeowner education on well water testing and well maintenance could be important for public health. View Full-Text
Keywords: private wells; groundwater; drinking water; animal feeding operation; fecal coliforms; enterococci; E. coli; Maryland private wells; groundwater; drinking water; animal feeding operation; fecal coliforms; enterococci; E. coli; Maryland
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MDPI and ACS Style

Murray, R.T.; Rosenberg Goldstein, R.E.; Maring, E.F.; Pee, D.G.; Aspinwall, K.; Wilson, S.M.; Sapkota, A.R. Prevalence of Microbiological and Chemical Contaminants in Private Drinking Water Wells in Maryland, USA. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1686. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081686

AMA Style

Murray RT, Rosenberg Goldstein RE, Maring EF, Pee DG, Aspinwall K, Wilson SM, Sapkota AR. Prevalence of Microbiological and Chemical Contaminants in Private Drinking Water Wells in Maryland, USA. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018; 15(8):1686. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081686

Chicago/Turabian Style

Murray, Rianna T., Rachel E. Rosenberg Goldstein, Elisabeth F. Maring, Daphne G. Pee, Karen Aspinwall, Sacoby M. Wilson, and Amy R. Sapkota 2018. "Prevalence of Microbiological and Chemical Contaminants in Private Drinking Water Wells in Maryland, USA" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15, no. 8: 1686. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081686

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