FRANKFORD, Del. – For some, peace of mind can look something like a water testing kit. Thanks to federal funds, Delawareans can get their hands on one and know that their water is safe to drink. “Even if people aren’t aware of it, they need it. It helps us to help educate the public and heighten awareness of what they need to be doing with their wells to protect their health and safety,” said Delaware Manager of the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project Jean Holloway.
It’s as simple as running some water into a bottle, filling out a quick questionnaire, and sending the sample off to a lab. Plus, it’s free for Delawareans until the end of 2020. But that’s not the case across state lines. Holloway is a Maryland resident. She says having this resource at no cost is essential for those drinking out of private wells. “I had to have my own well tested and it cost me well over $100. It was $150 20-some years ago. I would do it more often if I could do it this inexpensively and if it were this easy,” said Holloway.
Once folks pick up the kits that can test for bacteria and nitrates, they can send it off to get tested. Sandi Spiegel with the Delaware Division of Public Health says that serious health hazards can come with drinking unclean water. So, it’s important to help folks make sure their water is safe. “There’s a misunderstanding that if it tastes good and it smells good, then it’s good. So things that you can’t see and smell, like high nitrates, high bacteria are things that need to be tested for,” said Spiegel.
Delaware Senator Tom Carper was on hand in Frankford Tuesday to help announce the free testing kits and their availability. He says this issue is important to him because it’s personal. Sen. Carper tells 47ABC he wants to ensure that everyone in the first state has access to safe and clean water. “Water quality is a challenge all over the world. As a naval flight officer I was stationed all over the world and I know personally about drinking bad water and getting really, really sick,” said Sen. Carper.
Sen. Carper says the United States Senate is planning to focus on clean drinking water this month and next month. He says this is an issue that can be fixed. But it needs continued attention in order to make sure all Americans have water that’s safe to drink. If there’s a tree that falls in the forest and there’s nobody there to hear it, is it really a noise? This is a good program that actually helps people lead safer lives,” said Sen. Carper.
Meanwhile, in the age of COVID-19 Holloway says making sure this resource was available for folks who might be especially vulnerable to the pandemic was a key issue. “If someone is disabled or elderly or unsure about taking the test they might think we should take the sample for them. Whereas, if they’re in their house because they’re afraid of COVID, they can pull the sample and leave it on their porch and we’ll go pick it up…