The results of the Wilton Health Department\u2019s voluntary well testing program are in, and they show that uranium levels in town are more \u201cproblematic\u201d than arsenic levels, said Health Department Director Barry Bogle.The department announced in February it would be working closely with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) to conduct the program, through which random wells in town were tested to evaluate the presence of the metals arsenic and uranium.According to DPH epidemiologist Brian Toal, both arsenic and uranium are considered toxic and can have a variety of adverse health effects if people are exposed at high enough levels and for a long period of time.Although the health department\u2019s initial plan was to test 30 wells, it wound up testing a total of 80 due to \u201can overwhelming response\u201d to its request for volunteers, said Bogle.\u201cWe tried to accommodate as many as we could, given our limited resources,\u201d he said. \u201cIt isn\u2019t really a big sample size, but enough so to give us an indication of what\u2019s going on.\u201d Arsenic The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)\u2019s drinking water standard, or \u201caction level,\u201d for arsenic is 0.01 milligrams per liter (mg\/l) or 10 parts per billion (ppb). Although the results of the town\u2019s well testing showed sporadic heightened levels of arsenic, said Bogle, \u201cwe don\u2019t actually have much of a problem with arsenic at all.\u201d \u201cOftentimes what you\u2019ll have is a variation in the reading because of the water levels,\u201d he said. \u201cIt may be high at one point in time and maybe a lot lower at some other point in time. It\u2019s not really a definitive number.\u201d Bogle said arsenic levels in Wilton wells are \u201cpretty good.\u201d Of the 80 wells tested, he said, arsenic was detected in seven samples. \u201cTwo out of the 80 exceeded our action level of parts per billion, and there was just one outlier at 52 parts per billion, which is really high \u2014 a little bit over five times the action levels,\u201d said Bogle. \u201cBut that could be, like I said before, just a variation in the reading \u2014 the amount of arsenic that leached into the well water at that point in time.\u201d According to the DPH, \u201cdepending on local environmental conditions, arsenic can leach from soils or mineral deposits into groundwater,\u201d but \u201cthe extent to which this occurs in Connecticut bedrock wells is uncertain.\u201d Arsenic has no smell or taste and is classified as a human cancer-causing agent. Arsenic has been associated with increased risk of lung, bladder and skin cancers. Some people are more sensitive to arsenic than others. Symptoms associated with high levels of arsenic, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, include: Numbness, tingling or pins and needles in the feet and hands with associated weakness. Partial paralysis. Stomach pain or diarrhea. Patchy areas of darkened skin, redness and swelling. Patchy areas or thickened outer skin layer. Appearance of small \u201ccorns\u201d or \u201cwarts\u201d on the palms, soles of the feet or body. The only way to know if a well is contaminated with arsenic is to test the water, according to the DPH, which recommends arsenic testing every five years. Although the Wilton Health Department\u2019s well testing \u201cisn\u2019t really a definitive test,\u201d Bogle said, \u201cit does give us an idea of where we may have some problems in terms of uranium, which seems to be the more problematic of the two.\u201d Uranium With regard to uranium, Bogle said, \u201cwe had a little bit more of a concern with the levels.\u201d \u201cThirty-three of the 80 wells had some level of uranium in them,\u201d he said, \u201cbut we had 51.25% wells that tested negative for uranium.\u201d According to the EPA, the action level for uranium in drinking water is 30 ppb or 0.03 mg\/l. Although six of the 80 wells exceeded the uranium action level, Bogle said, 92.5% had uranium levels below the action level. Because uranium is naturally present in bedrock in many places throughout Connecticut, according to the DPH, deep bedrock wells are susceptible to contamination and shallow wells are less susceptible. However, the amount of uranium in bedrock and well water varies greatly from place to place, according to the DPH. The type of uranium found in groundwater is not considered a radioactive risk and is therefore not a major cancer concern. However, the toxicity of the uranium metal has been associated with adverse effects on kidney function. It is not possible to determine if water is safe to drink without testing, according to the DPH, which recommends testing wells for uranium every five years. Database Bogle said well testing in Wilton is \u201can ongoing process,\u201d and the health department is looking to create a database of test results. \u201cOver this coming summer, I\u2019ll hopefully get an intern to build that database for us and we\u2019ll have an idea of how many wells we have that are impacted by uranium and arsenic, or both,\u201d he said. Bogle said the database would grow as more homeowners in Wilton test their wells and provide the health department with their results. \u201cWe have access to a database in the state department that provides information on all well completion reports,\u201d he said. \u201cHowever, because arsenic and uranium weren\u2019t part of the standard portability test for private wells, that information isn\u2019t there, so we\u2019re actually relying on homeowners to do their own testing and provide us with that information.\u201d Bogle said the health department hopes to have \u201ca better grasp on the amount of wells in town that are impacted by arsenic and uranium\u201d before the year ends. With the database, he said, \u201cwe\u2019ll be better able to provide information to homeowners, potential buyers [and] Realtors as to what the water conditions are at the time of testing, and at the same time, advise homeowners to test more frequently.\u201d Remedies and resources For wells that have unacceptable levels of arsenic, it can be removed with special filtration systems. Carbon filters can be effective, and in some cases reverse osmosis systems will work, but each well and situation is different, so reverse osmosis does not work in all cases. The lab performing the tests should be able to advise if treatment is needed. For those residents who were not selected for the department\u2019s testing program and wish to have their well tested, a number of private laboratories can be contacted for testing. The cost for testing for both metals is reported to range between $65 and $100. For more information, see the links below or call 860-509-7740 (DPH), or 203-563-0174: Arsenic in Private Drinking Water Wells. Connecticut Department of Public Health. List of certified environmental laboratories that conduct arsenic and uranium testing. Private Well Testing. What You Need to Know About Uranium in Private Well Water. Wilton Health Department.