A bigger laboratory and new equipment for El Paso County Public Health should translate into savings for public water systems and residents with private wells.
Public Health's lab is the only facility in the Pikes Peak region that is certified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to perform testing for inorganic contaminants including fluoride, nitrate-N and bromide.
The lab previously tested for chloride, sulfate and ortho-phosphate-P.
"People won't have the shipping costs they have now when they have to send water samples off to Denver," said Tom Gonzales, the county's Environmental Health Division director. "We've got approximately 15,000 private wells in the county, mostly out east."
Homeowners are responsible for testing their private wells for contaminants.
Gonzales said campgrounds, as well as some restaurants and schools in the eastern part of the county that are served by well water, must undergo water testing.
"We think it's a pretty big deal because we can provide service now to our citizens," Gonzales said. "Some of our equipment was old so when we moved to Citizens Service Center, we were able to get a bigger lab and update equipment."
Certain contaminants in drinking water can lead to health issues, including gastrointestinal illness, negative cosmetic dental effects or weakened tooth enamel and bone.
All water samples must be gathered using the appropriate collection kit, which can be obtained from the Public Health lab on the second floor of Citizens Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road. To request bottles by mail, call 578-3123.
Fees, testing instructions and fact sheets are at www.elpasocountyhealth.org. For more information, call 578-3100.
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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