In the Media
Bar Harbor partners with community to test all wells for arsenic
BAR HARBOR — The town of Bar Harbor is teaming up with the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and the Conners Emerson school in advising members of the community to test their wells.
Science teacher Lynn Hanna talked about the program and what students do.
“We do a project here called ‘All About Arsenic’ and we work closely with MDI biology labs, where students actually take kits home, test their well water for arsenic. The data comes back to us,” said Hanna.
Students would then come back with the information and create trifolds educating the public about the dangers of arsenic in well water.
In its second year, Hanna has high expectations for the program.
“The goal this year is to get 100 test kits in the town of bar harbor. Last year we had about 35, 36 kits and the kids being more a part of handing out those kits and talking to townspeople,” said Hanna.
Elevated arsenic levels have been detected in more than a tenth of wells sampled so far, and this is something that concerns MDI Laboratory Assistant Director of Research Training Dr. Hannah Lust.
“Arsenic is a huge health concern worldwide, and there is this federal mcl limit of arsenic being 10 micrograms per liter that’s enforced across Maine,” said Lust.
Students like Gwen Stager and Maeve Hurley say it’s being able to interact with the community on an important problem that appeals to them the most.
“It’s kind of fun. We get to do fun experiments and we get to make posters and trifolds to help people to know if they have arsenic in their wells,” said Stager.”
“It really means a lot that we get this opportunity with our young minds to help the community and share how important it is to test your water for arsenic,” said Hurley.
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