The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is offering free water testing for 60 or more wells in the Clatsop County area in the fall.

DEQ’s North Coast study area includes the cities of Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Nehalem, Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, Bay City and Tillamook, as well as unincorporated areas in Clatsop and Tillamook counties.

The department will be analyzing well-water samples for chemicals that pose a potential health risk, as well as several common water quality parameters, according to a news release from DEQ. Tests will look for nitrate/nitrite, arsenic, pesticides and herbicides, general hardness from ion concentrations, selected metals, pharmaceuticals and personal care products and bacteria.

Samplings will occur during the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016 and results then will be sent to participants.

The study is being conducted with funds provided by the Oregon Legislature in 2013 to help DEQ monitor groundwater across the state. The department identified “hot spots,” or areas of concern, around the state, and concentrations of nitrates and shallow aquifers, as well as community interest, indicated the North Coast as a potential groundwater “hot spot,” according to DEQ.

While public water suppliers are required to test their water on a regular basis, homeowners who rely on a well for their water are not required to test unless they transfer property.

“For these reasons, DEQ is conducting a groundwater study to learn more about the quality of the groundwater and communicate any health risks to homeowners who rely on well water,” the release states. “DEQ is looking for volunteers who are interested in having their drinking well water tested.”

Testing will not cost homeowners.

All sample results are public record, but addresses and names are not included in the database available to the public, only the latitude and longitude of the well, according to DEQ.

To participate in the study, email groundwater.monitoring@deq.state.or.us or call (503) 693-5736 by July 12. Applicants will be sent a form with questions about their well, and participants will be selected based on location and characteristics of their well. All participants must have access to their well water before any treatment or filtration occurs.

For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/deq/wq/pages/index.aspx

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