DEVELOPING A NON-PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY PROGRAM FOR THE STATE OF GEORGIA Scott A. Uhlich, MCP Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Public Health. PROJECT OBJECTIVES/METHODOLOGY. BENIFITS OF CHANGE. BACKGROUND.
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DEVELOPING A NON-PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY PROGRAM
FOR THE STATE OF GEORGIA
Scott A. Uhlich, MCP
Georgia Department of Human Resources
Division of Public Health
BENIFITS OF CHANGE
Non-Public Water Systems –EPD
Non-Public Water Systems
The Division of Public Health is responsible for preventing disease transmission. One of the CDC’s goals for “Healthy Communities” is to provide safe and high quality drinking water. As a service to the community, county environmental health specialists (EHS) conduct well water sampling at homeowners request.
Well water sampling results, from FY04 to 08 for the state of Georgia, indicate that 1 out of 4 wells sampled (28%) test positive for coliform bacteria. Individuals drinking water tested positive for the presence of coliform bacteria are at risk of contracting a waterborne illness.
County EHS provide assistance to homeowners regarding well water disinfection. While this disinfection process eliminates the present contamination, the underlying cause of contamination is not addressed. Homeowners are left with a false impression their well water supply is safe
County EHS report improper well construction, location & protection as primary causes of well contamination. The Water Well Standards Act does not provide for inspection or monitoring of individual and non-public water supplies. A result of not conducting well construction inspections, many wells may be improperly constructed, located & protected.
The State Environmental Health office is working with the Environmental Protection Division in a cooperative manner to improve monitoring and enforcement of the Water Well Standards Act. A Water Advisory Group has been established including Public Health (Environmental Health & Epidemiology), Environmental Protection Division and the Department of Agriculture.
The State Environmental Health office is expanding the training on well construction, location and protection to all districts of the state. The Division of Public Health has accepted a grant from the Centers for Disease control to improve waterborne illness reporting in Georgia. Training on waterborne illness is on-going for county environmental health specialists and epidemiologists.
Discussions concerning development of a permit and inspection program within the Division of Public Health will depend on the analysis of well assessment data and discussions with EPD.