Limited Supply of Free Water Test Kits Made Available by Health Department

For Immediate Release: August 22, 2008
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health has a limited supply of free water test kits for residents who have well water that may have been contaminated during the heavy rains and flooding.

The water test kits are being made available to residents in areas affected by flooding, and who may not be able to afford the $14 kits.

Even as water levels recede this week with improved weather conditions, flood water may have contaminated area wells and people should take precautions. Wells should be tested if there was a change in water quality (odor or taste), if the well was flooded, or if the well is located very near flooded areas.

Residents should contact their local office of the Vermont Department of Health for free test kits and disinfection instructions. Water samples must be submitted to the Health Department laboratory according to instructions in the kit, and must be clearly marked “contaminated by flooding."

Water taken from wells that may have been contaminated should be boiled for at least one minute to make it safe for drinking, cooking, making juice or ice, washing fruits and vegetables or brushing teeth – or residents should use bottled water.

Towns affected by the flooding include: Brandon, Ripton, Hancock, Salisbury, Middlebury, Montpelier, Danville, Goshen, Rockingham, Corinth, New Haven, Bridport, Berlin and Chelsea.

A total coliform bacterial test (called "Kit A" at the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory) is recommended every year for homeowners with private wells. Coliform bacteria are a large group of soil and intestinal bacteria that indicate potential well contamination and may cause health problems.

Order a test kit for a fee by calling the Public Health Laboratory at 1-800-660-9997. A water test kit order form is also available on the Health Department website at: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/ph_lab/water_test.aspx.

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