Vermont’s bedrock contains naturally occurring elements such as radioactive elements (uranium, radium, and radon), iron, arsenic, and manganese. Nitrate is a compound that occurs naturally in water in low background amounts, while fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral.

Some contaminants are human-made and enter water sources because of human activities.

NATURAL DRINKING WATER CONTAMINANTS AND/OR ISSUES

The Health Department recommends testing your private water source for these natural drinking water contaminants: coliform, arsenic, and hardness plus other contaminants.

HUMAN-MADE DRINKING WATER CONTAMINANTS AND/OR ISSUES

Human-made chemicals get into drinking water as a result of human activities. Examples include:

  • Herbicide sprayed too close to a well or other water supply
  • Accidental chemical spill
  • Improper disposal of chemicals down storm drains, household drains, or down the toilet
  • From old manufacturing sites where chemicals were disposed of improperly.

As with naturally occurring chemicals, most health effects result when people drink water contaminated with human-made chemicals over a long period of time. The Vermont Tracking portal includes data about four human-made chemicals: atrazine, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), tetrachloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). Other human-made contaminants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA).

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