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CENTURY TESTING LABORATORIES -- THE QUESTION ISN'T: IS YOUR GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL? THE QUESTION IS: WHAT'S IN THAT GLASS?

    BEND, Ore., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The chemical formula for water includes hydrogen and oxygen.  But today, the compound formula for drinking water may include a lot of other chemicals, announced Century Testing Laboratories Inc.
    While much has been made of lead and copper testing in recent months, a variety of other contaminants are being tested for under a federally mandated program, commonly called Phase II and Phase V.
    To uncover what chemicals lurk in our drinking water supply, these stringent government-regulated tests are designed to look for pesticides, cyanide, asbestos and nitrates, as well as dozens of other contaminants.
    Oregon drinking water systems, regardless of size, are now being required to test for these Phase II and Phase V contaminants quarterly. But drinking water systems serving fewer than 3,300 people have a small window of opportunity to avoid testing quarterly under the federal Chafee Amendment, which expires Sept. 30, 1993.
    If those drinking water systems ship water samples for Phase II and V testing to a certified lab before the end of September, they may be required to test just once instead of four times, if the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) approved by the Environmental Protection Agency are not exceeded.  This can save owners/operators of small water systems time and money.
    Large drinking water systems (serving more than 3,300 people) must continue to test for Phase II and Phase V contaminants quarterly -- a regulation which went into effect last January.
    The Phase II and Phase V tests cost $1,430 per water system.
    "We are testing a lot of people's water now to check for nitrate levels, as well as other contaminants under the Phase II and Phase V parameters," says Century Testing Laboratories' Sheena Fischer.
    "I would urge water managers of the small water systems to send in their samples before the Sept. 30 deadline," said Fischer.  "It will save them the added time and extra costs of testing three more times in the year.  It also gives them the information they need to assure their customers of safe drinking water."
    The Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) recent discovery of dangerous levels of nitrate and contamination in groundwater systems throughout Oregon is just one of the contaminants this testing is designed to uncover.
    Nitrates originate from human and animal waste, nitrogen-loaded fertilizers, pesticides and other sources.  It is the most common form of groundwater pollution.  Based on the recent voluntary groundwater testing, nearly half of well samples taken in the Prineville area had nitrate concentrations near or above danger levels.  Drinking water contaminated with nitrate levels above 10 milligrams per liter can be harmful to infants and pregnant or nursing women, according to state health officials.  Boiling water will not rid it of nitrates.
    Century Testing Laboratories Inc. in Bend is one of only a few certified testing facilities in the Northwest approved by the Oregon Health Division to test nitrate levels in water.
    Because the recent groundwater testing for nitrates was voluntary and did not occur everywhere, serious groundwater contamination may occur in other untested aquifers, according to the DEQ.
    Further, the DEQ is aware of 1,359 groundwater contamination sites in Oregon.  They range from tainted wells to leaking underground storage tanks to chemical spills in aquifers.
    For more information on the Phase II and Phase V testing, contact Sheena Fischer or Walt Burns at Century Testing Laboratories, 800-929-1562.
    -0-             09/15/93
    CONTACT:  Laura Ross, 503-231-6078, or Sheena Fischer, 800-929-1562, both of Century Testing Laboratories CO:  CENTURY TESTING LABORATORIES INC. ST:  OR


-- SE017 -- X232 09/15/93
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 15, 1993
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