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The Georgia Division of Public Health (GDPH) was requested by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to conduct a health consultation on a private well sampling effort near the Hart County Landfill in Hartwell, Georgia. The cooperation between EPD and GDPH was initiated through a memorandum of agreement for GDPH to address public health hazards at any Georgia sites where EPD is concerned about environmental contamination releases from a site they regulate. GDPH consulted on the matter under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Compliance groundwater monitoring activities at the Hart County Landfill indicated that contamination had migrated off site and may have impacted drinking water supplies for residents who reside on the border of the landfill (1). Testing of the private wells in the area showed no levels of contamination above the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) enforced by EPD. Only one well sampled contained levels of contamination above the detection limit (Table 1). EPD informed the person using the well of the presence of these contaminants in her drinking water.

Representatives from GDPH and the Hart County Health Department met with the well user to discuss the results of her well sample on Friday March 20, 1998 (2). The well owner was aware of the tests and was concerned about the presence of the chemicals in her drinking water. Although the source of contamination has not been identified, contamination from the adjacent landfill is expected to be the source impacting this drinking water supply. The well user voiced concern over the potential for adverse health effects to occur due to her exposure to the water.

We explained to her that none of the contaminants had exceeded the MCLs for those chemicals and that adverse health effects due to exposure to chemicals at those recorded levels are not likely to result. However, due to the potential for the levels of contamination to increase in her drinking water, we discussed the situation with representatives from the local city government of Hartwell. In this meeting, participants decided that the safest course to take with this matter, in terms of public health, was to provide the well user with an alternative source of water. The representatives of the Hartwell City Government voiced a commitment to connect the home, and all of the other residents in the area of the landfill, to the city public water system, which is periodically sampled to remain under compliance with EPD regulations.

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