It's Everyone's Responsibility! The Facts You Should Know, The Steps You Can Take.
In Dutchess County, many public water supplies and private residences rely on groundwater as their sole source of drinking water. With continued population growth, groundwater supplies are increasingly vulnerable to potential contamination. Two of the most common contaminants affecting groundwater supplies in Dutchess County are coliform bacteria and organic chemicals including Methyl- tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive.
The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health oversees and enforces the routine monitoring of public water supplies for the following types of contamination:
The routine monitoring of private wells, however, is the responsibility of each individual homeowner. The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health strongly recommends that homeowners follow the steps outlined below to assess the quality of their individual water supply.
Water Sampling Guidance
Homeowners interested in testing their drinking water should consult with a New York State approved laboratory to obtain information regarding sampling protocols, proper sampling containers and information regarding sampling assistance. A listing of approved laboratories can be found in the local telephone directory Yellow Pages under “Laboratories” or from the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health.
Coliform Bacteria occurs in those wells that may be contaminated with either dirt or sewage. Wells that are contaminated with coliform bacteria indicate that the water supply could contain other more harmful organisms that cause gastrointestinal illness and diarrhea.
Organic Chemicals occur in those wells that may be contaminated by leaking underground fuel tanks, gas stations, or industrial processes. Many, but not all, of these organic chemicals have a noticeable fragrant odor at low concentrations in water. The Dutchess County Health Department does not advise consuming water contaminated with organic chemicals at concentrations greater than 5 parts per billion (ppb).
MTBE is methyl-tertiary-butyl ether, a gasoline additive that dissolves very easily in water and travels rapidly and over great distances in groundwater. MTBE has a noticeable fragrant odor at low concentrations. MTBE contamination can occur from small petroleum spills (<10 gallons) as well as large spills. Spills from underground fuel tanks can also be a source of MTBE contamination. The Dutchess County Health Department does not advise consuming water contaminated with MTBE at levels greater than 10 parts per billion.
If you require further information or have questions regarding drinking water, please contact the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health’s Environmental Health Services Division at 845-486-3404, 9AM-5PM, Monday through Friday.