Michael Paul, Community Engagement Core Coordinator at the Dartmouth College Superfund Research Program (SRP), presented to a standing-room-only group of 75 New Hampshire health officers at their annual meeting Oct. 24. With Department of Environmental Services partner Pierce Rigrod, Paul discussed the state’s water quality and described research and community engagement efforts by Dartmouth SRP.
Approximately 40 percent of New Hampshire residents obtain water from a well. Paul provided an overview of some local contaminants of concern commonly found in well water, including arsenic, and the potential health effects. He also discussed the importance of testing well water for arsenic, highlighting a report from the U.S. Geological Survey on arsenic in groundwater.
The presentation provided health officers with the material they need to inform their local boards and constituents about testing well water. The mission of the state-level Health Officers Association is to assist local health officials in providing technical assistance, representation, and educational and informational programs to the general public on environmental and public health topics.
Paul’s partnership with Rigrod and community outreach efforts is facilitated by Dartmouth SRP’s New Hampshire Arsenic Consortium . The consortium was established to help the public, primarily private well users, become aware of the presence and health implications of arsenic in the food and water supply. The consortium stresses the importance of testing private wells for arsenic and other common contaminants. They also provide information to private well users on how to take the appropriate next steps to reduce exposure to arsenic in well water.