RARITAN TWP., NJ – Many Hunterdon residents rely on private wells for water, yet nearly one in five of them contain arsenic levels higher than the state drinking water standard. In many parts of Hunterdon, the portion of private wells with arsenic is much higher.

That’s according to a press release from Hunterdon Healthcare System, the corporate parent of Hunterdon Medical Center.

Exposure to arsenic through drinking water can increase risks for several types of cancers, heart diseases, lung diseases, unhealthy pregnancies and learning problems for children. Arsenic cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled in water, and it occurs naturally in New Jersey groundwater.

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The Columbia University Program on the Health Effects of Arsenic, state Departments of Health and Environmental Protection and Hunterdon Healthcare have teamed up in honor of Earth Day to help people understand the impact of arsenic on health and for the need to test -  and if necessary, treat -  private well water. 

The only way to make sure that well water is safe for drinking is to have it tested.

Hunterdon Healthcare’s Facebook page will offer a live conversation open to all at 12:30 p.m. April 26. Participants will have their questions answered by a Dr. Carla Jardim, a family practice physician at Hunterdon Family Medicine at Delaware Valley and Dr. Steve Spayd, a state DEP scientist who is an authority on groundwater contamination and treatment.

Questions may also be emailed in advance.

For a limited time, free private well arsenic testing will also be available to Hunterdon families with children or pregnancies, or who are expecting a pregnancy in the future.

You can find more information about the free testing and the Facebook chat, as well as videos, FAQs, and guidance about arsenic testing and treatment in New Jersey online.

Columbia researchers have shared information on the health effects of arsenic to Hunterdon Healthcare physicians and to the staff of several Hunterdon Family Medicine practices, and have created posters and pamphlets reminding patients to test their well water.