Evaluation of household water quality in Louisa County, Virginia

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Virginia Cooperative Extension


During Summer and Fall 1999, a program of household water quality education, which included water sampling, testing, and diagnosis, was conducted in Louisa County, Virginia. Participation in the water quality program was made available to any Louisa County resident who utilized a private, individual water supply. During the course of the project, 383 households submitted water samples which were analyzed for iron, manganese, hardness, sulfate, chloride, fluoride, total dissolved solids, pH, saturation index, copper, sodium, nitrate, and total coliform and E. coli bacteria. These analyses identified the major household water quality problems in Louisa County as iron/manganese, corrosivity, and bacteria.

Following completion of the program, a survey was mailed to the 383 participants. One hundred and sixty-three participants returned survey forms on which they identified their reason( s) for participating in such a program; the primary reason being concern about safety of their water supply. Returned survey forms also provided insight into measures participants had already taken, or planned to take, to improve the quality of their water supply. More than three-fourths of the households who reported having at least one water quality problem had taken, or planned to take, at least one measure to improve the quality of their water supply. Eleven percent or more of all participants had taken, or planned to take, one or more of the following actions: shock chlorinate the water system, pump out septic tank, contact a state ageny for additional assistance, and purchase or rent water treatment equipment.