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Problem Water Series: Volatile Organic Compounds

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Volatile Organic Compounds, such as benzene, toluene, methylene chloride, and methyl chloroform(4), are carbon containing compounds that can evaporate into the air and sometimes end up in groundwater (1)*. VOCs can occur naturally or as a result of human activities. VOCs are also common additives in commercial and household products such as gasoline, varnishes and cleaners (2) and can make their way from these products into groundwater supplies.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (3) and the Minnesota Department of Health, the following factors may contribute to VOC's in private well water:

  • Location - Industrial and commercial areas, gas stations, landfills, and dry-cleaning operations can all be sources of contamination.
  • Well depth - Shallower wells may become contaminated quicker and more easily than deeper wells.
  • Geology - If the groundwater is covered in sand or porous soil, it is more vulnerable than thick soil which can reduce the intrusion from contaminants.
  • Time - It could be months or years before a spill is discovered or has contaminated groundwater because of the water's slow-moving nature.

If you are concerned about the possible presence of VOCs in your private well water, a sure way to ease your mind is a simple call to your local Culligan Man. He will work to provide you with a well water testing service recommendation, and then discuss what your treatment options may be. Culligan has a range of products and services which can assist in alleviating the impact of VOCs in your water, including the Culligan Aqua-Cleer® drinking water filtration system.

Contact your Culligan dealer today for more information.

*Volatile organic compounds and other contaminants and impurities are not necessarily in your water.

1) http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/hazardous/topics/vocs.html#what

2) http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/circ1292/pdf/circular1292.pdf

3) http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/well/upload/2003_06_03_privatewells_pdfs_household_wells.pdf 

4) http://www.epa.gov/greeningepa/glossary.htm#v

 


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