Roamingwood Sewer and Water Association
Well Field Evaluation - Well Field Capture Zone Analysis
Mr. Brian Oram, PG MS, Mr. Bill Toothill, MS,
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
The Roamingwood Sewer & Water Association was awarded a “PA Growing Greener Grant” to aid in the development of a Source Water Protection Program for the Roamingwood Sewer & Water Association (PWS ID # 2640025). The Roamingwood Sewer & Water Association provides drinking water from five groundwater sources to over 2,979 private homes and 24 community buildings within the planned residential development known as The Hideout in Salem and Lake Township in Wayne County. In 1798, Wayne County was subdivided from Northampton County and named after General Anthony Wayne. Wayne County contains over 488,250 acres that has been divided into 28 local municipalities. Based on the 2000 Census, the rate of growth in Wayne County during the 1990’s was 19.5 % with an estimated population of over 47,700 in 2000. In the Commonwealth, Wayne County ranks 3rd with respect to rate of population growth and 18th with respect to density. The Hideoutis a planned residential community consisting of approximately 2,979 single-family homes nestled in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Report #1: Giardia, Crytosporidium and Waterborne Disease
Water-Research.net is a strong supporter of environmental education and the company feels privileged to make available this informational fact sheet for free as a means of environmental education, awareness, and outreach.
The topic of this summary report is Giardia, Crytosporidium, and waterborne disease. Giardia and Crytosporidium are becoming the most widespread intestinal parasites, i.e., disease causing organisms, associated with waterborne disease.
These organisms are not bacteria or viruses, but protozoans with complex life cycles. Outside of the host, the organisms are in a cyst stage, which is much like a seed for a plant or microscopic egg. The size of the Giardia cyst is approximately 8 to 14 um; whereas, the Crytosporidium oocysts are usually 4 to 6 microns in diameter. (Note: 1 micron = 0.001 mm = 0.00004 inches ), which is too small to see with the naked eye. These organisms are reasonable for over 100,000 causes of reported outbreaks of waterborne, since 1979. These are not new organisms and in fact Van Leeuwenhoek first describe Giardia cysts in 1681, but these organisms have not been identified as disease causing agents until the last two decades.
Upon ingestion, the acids in the stomach cause the cysts or oocysts to begin to ex-cyst ("like hatching an egg") and the organism begins to reproduce in the intestines. As few as 10 Giardia cysts have been shown to cause the disease giardiasis and it is not currently known the minimum number of oocysts need to get the disease cryptosporidiosis. The disease creates symptoms that mimic other gastrointestinal problems and the common symptoms are persistent diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal cramps, nausea, and dehydration. In general, the symptoms begin within a week after exposure and the acute symptoms can last for up to 2 weeks, but chronic symptoms can last for up to 2 months. With proper treatment and our natural immune system, the diseases are not deadly, but these diseases can be life threatening to AIDS patients, small children, elderly, or someone recovering from major surgery.
Routes of Transmission:
This disease can not be transmitted via a cut or exposure to blood products. The primary route of transmission is any fecal to oral route. I know the statement "fecal to oral" route seems strange and unlikely, but please read some of the following examples. Waterborne: Drinking water supply becomes contaminated by malfunctioning on-lot wastewater disposal systems or improperly disposed sludge. Groundwater is not a common route of contamination. Foodborne: Mother was changing the diapers of her infant and returned to canning products for the church picnic and the individual purchasing the last batch of the canned items became sick; this would include any personal contact with fecal material, contaminated soil, or pet hair that contains the cysts. Sexual route: This is a route of transmission if you engage in anal-oral sex. Overall, the most widespread route of transmission is through the consumption of contaminated or inadequately or improperly treated drinking water.
"Backpacker Disease": Hikers and nature lovers would drink water from this clear, "pure" mountain spring or stream and get the disease Giardiasis. Most surface water sources (streams, creeks, springs, etc) can be consider vulnerable or are contaminated by Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts. Since both people and animals (wild and domestic animals) are carriers, it is impossible to prevent these organisms from getting into a surface water source. Therefore, do not drink untreated surface water or from that spring just is down the road; YOU are putting your family at risk. Groundwater sources are usually not vulnerable to contamination by these organisms, but improperly constructed wells, wells under the direct influence of a surfacewater source, or a damaged well could cause a problem. An improperly constructed well would permit surface water to enter along the casing or through the pitless adapter. A well under the direct influence of surfacewater means that the amount or thickness of the loss soil is not an adequate filtration barrier. A damaged well would be a well were the casing is cracked, well cap broken, or pitiless adapter permits water to directly enter the well.
Unlike bacteria, Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts are more resistant to conventional water treatment, such as: chlorination and ultraviolet irradiation. The primary reason is that these organisms have a cyst stage that exists outside the host, i.e., you, me, and other animals. In the cyst stage, a thick cell wall protects the organism from these conventional treatment methods. Not only does the cyst stage protect the organism during disinfection, this stage also permits the organism to stay "dormant" for many months in stream sediments or other moist environments.
Usually if a person is concerned with the quality of their water and they contact a commercial laboratory, the laboratory will recommend that the well be tested for total coliform bacteria; this is not the organisms Giardia. Important Note: If you do have your water tested and found to be negative for total coliform bacteria, this does not guarantee that the water is potable. T he results mean that it is "unlikely that disease causing organisms are present". The actual testing for the presence of these organisms is time consuming and can be very expensive. There are only a few laboratories within the United States that can conduct this analysis. If you have any questions regarding analysis you can contact the WATER RESEARCH CENTER. If you are looking to have your water sample tested for bacterial or general water quality, please visit our Outreach Program page.
Private Water Supply is Contaminated ?
If your personal water supply system (well, spring, or stream) is contaminated, the first step is to start boiling all the water you use for consumption (food preparation, drinking, brushing teeth, making ice cubes) or consider purchasing bottled water. The next step is to contact a professional (consultant or public health department) and have them provide you with guidance on how to best PROTECT YOUR FAMILY for your area.
Great Books on Giardia
Giardia and Giardiasis: Biology, Pathogenesis, and Epidemiology (This is a Great Reference !)
Special Report #2: Nitrates, Nitrites, Nitrogen: Health Hazard and Water Testing and Test Kits
Report # 2- Nitrates and Drinking Water
If infants drinking baby formula or water that contains an elevated level of nitrate or nitrite the baby could die from the disease "methemoglobinema". Current research suggests that long-term exposure to nitrates in drinking water may cause the development of cancer. I hope that these potential concerns make your read on and learn more about nitrates. What is "Methemoglobinema" anyway?
The concern over the ability of nitrates to cause cancer is unclear. Once in the body the nitrate or nitrite can form a serious of nitrogen compounds that have been tested and shown to be cancer causing agents in laboratory animals. Currently, there is no direct evidence that nitrate-contaminated drinking water causes cancer, but it is recommended that you reduce your exposure to these compounds.
A recent study conduct by the EPA estimated that over 600,000 household had nitrate levels above the safe drinking water standard of 10 milligram NO3-N per liter (nitrate as nitrogen) and a study by the US Geological Survey showed that at least 6 % of the nations rural wells exceeded the drinking water standard. The primary sources of nitrogen:
Farming/Landscaping: excessive or improper fertilizer use and improper storage of manure
Nitrate contamination is typically a problem in agricultural areas, but other rural non-agricultural communities are also at risk.
The only ways to prevent nitrate contamination of a water supply include: proper siting of water system, proper management of fertilizers and manure, proper well construction (sanitary wells), and install point-of-use water treatment devices. The primary water treatment devices for nitrate removal include: ion exchange resins, distillation, and reverse osmosis. It is critical that you have your water tested for this contaminant.
References or other resources
Other Reports are available for FREE.
LEED- AP / Green Associate Training/ Professional Development Hours Courses
Crescent Lake Watershed Assessment Project
Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
This project was a joint effort of seven groups namely; the Crescent Lake Property Owners Association (Association), Penn State University, Borton-Lawson Engineering, Center for Environmental Quality at Wilkes University, Susquehanna County Conservation District, Skelly-Loy and Auburn Township Supervisors. The Association was involved in the collection of watershed data, lake quality and quantity data collection. They distributed three newsletters to the community regarding the progress and outcomes of the project. They made suggestions or comments regarding the watershed assessment report and had active involvement in shaping the final watershed protection plan.
Water Research Center
...In Drinking Water