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Description of calls from private well owners to a national well water hotline, 2013
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    26674689
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC5088433
  • Description:
    Water Systems Council (WSC) is a national, non-profit organization providing education and resources to private household well owners. Since 2003, WSC has provided wellcare®, a toll-free telephone hotline to answer questions from the public regarding well stewardship. In order to identify knowledge gaps regarding well stewardship among private well owners, we obtained data from WSC and reviewed calls made during 2013 to wellcare®. WSC records data from each wellcare® call-including caller information, primary reason for call, main use of well water, and if they were calling about a cistern, private well, shared well, or spring. We searched for calls with key words indicating specific contaminants of interest and reviewed primary reasons for calls. Calls classified as primarily testing-related were further categorized depending on whether the caller asked about how to test well water or how to interpret testing results. During 2013, wellcare® received 1100 calls from private well owners who were residents of 48 states. Among these calls, 87 (8%) mentioned radon, 83 (8%) coliforms, 51 (5%) chemicals related to fracking, 34 (3%) arsenic, and 32 (3%) nitrates key words. Only 38% of private well owners reported conducting any well maintenance activities, such as inspecting, cleaning, repairing the well, or testing well water, during the previous 12 months. The primary reason for calls were related to well water testing (n=403), general information relating to wells (n=249), contaminants (n=229), and well water treatment (n=97). Among calls related to testing, 319 had questions about how to test their well water, and 33 had questions about how to interpret testing results. Calls from private well owners to the wellcare® Hotline during 2013 identified key knowledge gaps regarding well stewardship; well owners are generally not testing or maintaining their wells, have questions about well water testing treatment, and concerns about well water contaminants.

  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
    T35 OD010991/OD/NIH HHS/United States
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