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Hi Jim. I have been thinking about the Artesian well lately, as I'm pregnant and my 64 ounces of water daily comes purely from our water cooler filled with Artesian well water. I hadn't even given it a thought until I had someone else in my womb to consider. Lately, I've noticed dirt on the bottom of my water cooler when I am at the last of my water jug. And, sometimes it gets a really funny smell.

I went to your website (which is GREAT by the way) and noticed that you have the well tested annually. First, I would like to contribute to that fund and second, are those tests available to the public? I would love to see one, to see exactly what is being tested and what's in it. Do you test minerals? Pesticides?
From Reg Hearn our water tester: The testing program is firmly in place and all tests have been satisfactory. Of course, should that ever change, you will be informed immediately.

The artesian well is classed as a Group A, Transient, Non-Community water system. As such, testing beyond the monthly coliform and an annual nitrate is very limited. Should there be concerns about water quality, we might suggest Volatile Organics and Synthetic Organics, though those test are pretty expensive, about $350 each. I don't think that herbicides or pesticides would be very informative, given the location of the well.

The fact that the well is artesian is an indication that the aquifer is well protected from surface contaminants. If there were open channels to the aquifer, the artesian pressure could not maintain.

There will always be some level of sand in well water. The aquifer exists in the spaces between sand and gravel particles. It is not a health concern because the water is coming from well below the level at which harmful organisms can live. In fact, the best filter media in the world is sand and gravel. Slow sand filters have been used in remote locations with no access to power to improve water quality for generations.

Feel free to contact me any time if you have questions.

What other testing has been done?
A few years ago we spent @ $3,000.00 for what the hydrogeologist's call full spectrum testing (all minerals, pesticides, etc.). Twice in 15 years these full spectrum tests have been consistent. The water is chemically pristine. It has a 'chemical fingerprint' of a trace of one element (magnesium) that is an indicator that the water is old; i.e. it has been underground a long time in contact with the deep soil. Friends took an additional step by having Linton Wildrick send a sample for carbon date testing. That cost about $2,000.00 That test two years ago confirmed the water is over 2,000 years old.

Is the Diamond Parking Lot well tested regularly?
Yes, monthly. Friends of Artesian's pays Northwest Water Systems from publicly donated money. Diamond Parking and DOH continue to allow access to the well as long as a solution for a publicly owned well is being actively worked out. For information on water testing contact Reg Hearn: Northwest Water Systems, Inc. - P.O. Box 123, Port Orchard, WA 98366. - 360-876-0958. - mailto:Reg@nwwatersystems.com - http://nwwatersystems.com/

What is an artesian well?

Does an artesian well ensure better quality than a pumped well?
Not really. Once a groundwater supply is contaminated, both artesian and pumped wells can transport the tainted water to the consumer. And an artesian well is not immune from cracks or inadequate sealing that can set the stage for pollution to enter the well. However, a constantly flowing artesian well flushes itself out better than a pumped well.

Are the artesian wells in downtown Olympia unique?
Artesian water conditions are found all through the Puget Sound basin, the state, the country and the world. Cities such as Ashland, Ore., and Eldorado, Colo., have turned artesian wells into community and tourist attractions. But Olympia is unusual in the sheer number of wells drilled in downtown Olympia in decades past.

The artesian well water looks clear and fresh and tastes cool and pure. Does that mean it's safe to drink?
Not necessarily. Some herbicides, pesticides and bacterial contamination would be hard to see or taste. The well needs to be tested routinely, just like any other water supply. The Diamond Parking lot well is tested monthly.

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