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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

University Hygienic Lab answers question about who should test well water

University of Iowa News Release

June 25, 2008

University Hygienic Lab answers question about who should test well water

Should I be testing my water? Many people who are on private well systems are asking that question because of the recent flooding.

Nancy Hall, supervisor of environmental microbiology for the University Hygienic Laboratory (UHL), explains that the focus for testing is on wells that have been directly impacted by floodwaters.

"People whose drinking water comes from private wells should have their water tested if their wells were covered by flood water or if the well is located close to flood water, which are those located in the 100-year and 500-year flood plain," Hall said. "We have sent the message for years that people should have their well water tested once a year, and people should do this. But our priority now is to first make sure that we test the water for those families impacted by the flood who may be without safe water."

The UHL distributed hundreds of water testing kits to all county health departments affected by the flooding for this testing. These kits include supplies and instructions for collection and mailing of samples to the lab on the Oakdale Campus, just north of Iowa City. Contact your county health department to obtain a kit.

The UHL provides consultation on disease prevention, water and food safety, and disinfection of environmental surfaces. These services are particularly helpful to homeowners and businesses as they resume operations following a flood. The toll-free number for the Hygienic Lab is 800-421-IOWA (4692).

Additional information about health concerns related to flooding is also available on the University of Iowa Flood Information blog and on the UHL home page.

The Iowa Department of Public Health provides detailed information about precautions to following recovery and clean-up following a flood on its website.

The University Hygienic Laboratory is part of the University of Iowa and is the state of Iowa's environmental and public health laboratory. The UHL is the designated laboratory for the Iowa Neonatal Metabolic Screening Program, with facilities located on the Oakdale Campus in Iowa City and at the Iowa Lab Facilities in Ankeny, a Des Moines suburb. Among its many services, the laboratory functions as a consultative and analytical support facility for state agencies, health professionals and citizens. The UHL performs analyses on samples from virtually all matrices, including human clinical specimens, air, drinking water, wastewater, soil, sediment, industrial effluents, oil and fish.

STORY SOURCE: University Hygienic Laboratory, 102 Oakdale Campus, H101 OH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-5002

MEDIA CONTACT: Pat Blake, 319-335-4177 or 319-721-0000,