Water's arsenic levels prompt warning at Mount Rushmore
U.S. Water News Online
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The allowable level of arsenic in drinking water was reduced early in 2006, which has increased the number of water systems that have been reported in violation of the standard.
Add Mount Rushmore National Memorial to the list.
Visitors to Mount Rushmore are being warned about arsenic in the water, but the concern is minimal, according to park and state officials.
“People have been drinking that water for generations, and it hasn't posed any dangers,” said Gerard Baker, Mount Rushmore superintendent. “It's the new restrictions that pushed us over the limit.”
The new rules reduced the allowed arsenic level in drinking water from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.
Duane Bubac, Mount Rushmore's facilities manager, says drilling could start within a month on a second well, and that water will be blended with water from the existing well. Bubac said the hope is that the blend will get the water below 10 parts per billion from the current reading, which is 14 parts per billion.
Five other water systems in the state also are trying to come into compliance, according to Mark Mayer, state Department of Environment and Natural Resources' drinking water program administrator.
Two of the systems are at rural housing developments and two are at Hutterite colonies. Hecla is the fifth.
Arsenic enters drinking water from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.
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