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Publication Abstract

Arsenic in Groundwater in the Tolono Region Kelly, Walt, Tom Holm, 2011  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS MP-196    Full Text Available

In November 2010, a well water sample from a home near Tolono (labeled as well TOL-1 for this study) was sent to the Illinois State Water Survey’s (ISWS) Public Service Laboratory (PSL) in Champaign. The total arsenic (As) concentration was determined to be 344 micrograms per liter (μg/L), more than 30 times the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 μg/L allowed for public water supplies. This was the highest As concentration ever measured by the PSL. Several neighbors of this well owner subsequently sent in well samples to the PSL, and some of them had As concentrations above the MCL, although considerably lower than TOL-1.

An article appeared in the local newspaper in the spring of 2011 about the elevated As concentrations in the Tolono area, and a number of additional well owners contacted the PSL to have their well water tested. Normally the PSL mails sampling kits to well owners with instructions on how to collect samples. In order to collect samples for additional chemical analyses that are not routinely done by the PSL and ensure sample integrity, it was decided that ISWS personnel should collect the samples. The main advantages of having ISWS personnel collect samples were that field parameters, such as pH and specific conductance, could be measured on-site, and samples could be filtered and preserved in the field and delivered to the PSL the day they were collected.

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