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Water testing concludes second phase

The United States Geological Survey completed the sampling of 50 privately-owned wells in mid-July as part of the Groundwater Susceptibility Assessment for the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Basin. The sampling represents the second phase in the three-phase study, said Mike Rupert with the USGS. Phase 3 will generate groundwater vulnerability maps. According to an article in the June 2013 issue of The New Falcon Herald, the first phase of the study began in 2009, after El Paso County residents in the Upper Black Squirrel region expressed concern about the quality of their groundwater resources in relation to the increasing rate of development in the area.The first phase of the study gathered information on existing wells that draw water from the alluvial aquifer in the Upper Black Squirrel basin, according to the article. The Colorado Geological Survey was responsible for this portion of the study, and results indicated the water quality was generally ìpretty good.î Results from the second phase of the study will help fill data gaps not covered in phase 1.ìWeíre in the process of sending the last few samples off to the labs for analysis,î Rupert said. ìSome of the analyses will take up to eight months to get back, and other compounds like nitrate have already come back.îRupert said that once all the results have come back from the labs ñ there are several labs involved to test for all compounds ñ all the well owners who volunteered their wells for the study will receive a list of the concentrations of the compounds found. The results will also be posted at for public viewing, he said.ìSince most of the wells are domestic wells, I would just call or contact the well owner directly (if the results indicate a potential problem), and itís up to them if they want to put on a water treatment system or not,î Rupert said. ìI always make sure they know as soon as possible if there are really high nitrate concentrations.î This is the compound of most concern in the area, he said.Rupert said the groundwater vulnerability maps that will be created from the data will show areas of predisposition for greater nitrate content. Once the EPC Groundwater Quality Study Committee has had a chance to review them, the committee will determine if there is a need for any additional studies.ìIt would be nice to go back every few years to see if anything has changed,î Rupert said. ìWe could set up a long term monitoring program.î He said that since it will likely take him a couple of years to compile all the results from this particular phase, no resampling will be done any time soon.

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