Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:
The Rural Water Conundrum
Roughly 20 percent of Colorado citizens rely heavily on groundwater for their drinking water supply. Many live in small communities: 98 percent of Colorado’s water systems serve communities smaller than 10,000 people. For small, rural water providers, limiting the risk of chronic health conditions ranging from kidney and liver disease to cancer means contending with a long list of federally regulated contaminants. Emerging and unregulated contaminants pose additional challenges. As rural communities work to reduce health risks, they also struggle to spread the costs of water testing and treatment over small populations, while keeping up with changing regulations and the evolving science of water pollution.
Meanwhile, private well owners remain exempt from any water quality regulations, but bear the weighty responsibility of essentially operating their own personal utilities by constructing their own wells and testing and treating drinking water. They count on state and federal groundwater laws to keep their water sources free of some pollutants, but ensuring clean water means paying for water testing and treatment while keeping accurate maintenance records. And yet, many well owners test their drinking water less frequently than state health officials recommend, and high costs are partly to blame. Some groundwater experts believe state government should do more to require or subsidize private well testing, but at least for now, relying on a private well means taking your family’s health into your own hands.