Nitrates Levels in Drinking Water

Rural Islanders are at a disadvantage when it comes to clean drinking water

Andrew Lush
published on Tuesday, July 6th, 2021, in The Guardian

Islanders heartily endorse those governments which ensure the personal health and well-being of all of our residents both rural and urban.


Rural residents are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to clean drinking water.
Nitrate levels in private well water can be disturbingly high, with the P.E.I. government’s own Open Data Portal (data.princeedwardisland.ca) identifying that between 2014 and 2019, eight per cent of samples taken from private wells were above the US EPA safe level, and many more samples exceeded the safe guideline for feeding to babies.


Regular chemistry and bacteria tests are recommended for private wells, but the cost of these ($155 for both) has to be preventing many Islanders from getting proper tests done, and that is evident from the low number of published test results. Also, the cost of fixing the problem in a home can be high.


Even more disturbing is that virtually all rural school drinking water supplies have detectable levels of pesticides, and apparently urban schools do not. Pesticide testing is expensive, and the government only does tests to provide a general overview of pesticide levels. School water is only tested for a few pesticides, once per year, and these tests are not intended to guarantee water safety. Both the regular bacteria and chemical testing available for private wells do not test for pesticides. Subsidizing the cost of regular testing of all private wells for chemistry and bacteria; adding tests for common pesticides in private wells; publicizing the testing program; subsidizing the cost of domestic treatment systems; and putting relatively inexpensive carbon-block filters in rural school drinking water supplies, just makes sense.

Islanders heartily endorse those governments which ensure the personal health and well-being of all of our residents both rural and urban. And in particular will applaud and recognize any efforts to protect our future generations attending public educational institutions. All Islanders expect and deserve safeguarded drinking water.

Andrew Lush,
Coalition for the Protection of P.E.I. Water

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