Elevated Levels of Arsenic Were Found in a Georgia Elementary School


Arsenic in water violations are becoming more common, partly because of the new arsenic rule that sets the limit at 10 parts per billion, down from a previous limit of 50.  Many water supplies that were once considered safe are now being required to reduce their arsenic levels.

Arsenic is an odorless, tasteless semi-metal element that can enter drinking water naturally through erosion of the earth or agricultural runoff. It can also occur as the result of industrial pollution.

The Colquitt County School System in Georgia is considering a filtration system to deal with elevated levels of arsenic found in well water at Hamilton Elementary School.

The system learned of the elevated levels of the naturally occurring poisonous substance in January, at which time the Georgia Department of Natural Resources recommended monitoring the well that serves the school through the end of the year.

The school’s well has been testing at 10 ppb or slightly more, so the school has decided to provide bottled water for its students until an arsenic removal system is installed.  The current expectation is that the system will cost the school some $50,000.

Water treatment for arsenic is by ion exchange, distillation, or reverse osmosis.

Testing for arsenic is crucial to making sure  water is clean and safe to drink.

Long term exposure to arsenic can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, partial paralysis, numbness in hands and feet, blindness, and thickening and discoloration of the skin.

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