Flood, Snow, And Fog

Posted: November 10, 2011

The old mariner was right, “water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” This article is not about headlines or poetry, it is about consequences, a possible consequence of too much water.

Water transportation probably brings up images of ships, barges, or maybe canoes and kayaks, but not bacteria going for a ride and especially not submarining through soil. Usually bacteria do not move more than a foot in soil, but saturate the soil pores and they can move hundreds of feet. This may matter if you have your own well and septic system. Since 1972 septic systems have to be 100 feet from wells and four feet above water tables. A possible consequence of all the water this fall is a saturated septic system that let bacteria travel from your septic system to your well. This is an excellent reason to test your water supply and prove that didn’t happen. Test for total coliform and E. coli. They must be absent from drinking water to insure a safe supply.

You can find a list of laboratories here:

You can also stop by your local Penn State Extension Office and pick up a water testing kit. Add water and send it with a check to Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory in State College for testing. The price will be $35 plus shipping.