Almost everyone in the area depends on ground water; even if you have bottled water for drinking, you likely cook and wash with water that comes from the tap.

MILFORD - Almost everyone in the area depends on ground water; even if you have bottled water for drinking, you likely cook and wash with water that comes from the tap. How clean is that water? Even if it looks clear and tastes fine, what is the level of contaminants that might be seeping into your supply?

To answer these questions, the Pike County Conservation District, in conjunction with Pike County Penn State Extension and the Pocono Source Water Protection Collaborative, will be holding three public workshops in different areas of the county in coming months. The first is set for August 23rd.

There are various tests that can be performed to analyze samples of your well water, each which carries a fee. Michelle Long, of the Conservation District, announced at the County Commissioners’ meeting, July 5th, that the first 10 people who register at any of these workshops, will be provided a water test kit at no charge. The homeowner can then take this home to sample their own water, and have it sent in for analysis.

This is the basic water test, which looks for the levels of coliform bacteria, nitrates, pH and total dissolved solids.

Peter Wulfhorst, Penn State Extension, said that they recommend that this test be done annually. The fee to have this done is $30.00, unless you are one of the 10 first registrants at any of the workshops.

Groundwater is subject to being contaminated by harmful substances, such as road salt, cleaning supplies, home heating oil medicines, weed killers and fertilizers.

Workshop participants will learn the importance of protecting groundwater, how it reaches your well and how easily it can become polluted. A list of simple steps will be offered that can be done around the home to keep pollutants from reaching your drinking water.

The workshops are planned:

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Lackawaxen Township Building, off Urban Road. Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Dingman Township Building, 118 Fisher Lane, near Milford. Monday, March 26, 2018 at 7 p.m. at the Pike County Conservation District Office, 556 Route 402, in Blooming Grove.

Wulfhorst is scheduled to conduct the presentations.
The kits are funded by a $3,000 grant the District received from the PA Association of Conservation Districts. Wulfhorst said that they are provided by the same laboratory that analyzes the water samples brought in by the public at the Penn State Extension Office in Milford. Outside of the workshop, the public is welcome anytime to pick up the water bottle needed for the sampling, and bring it back to the Extension Office on Wednesdays.

There also will be other types of water test kits the public may purchase, to test for other parameters that can affect groundwater.

Some pollutants will be evident in water, such as blue coloration from copper, Wulfhorst said, but bacteria is not something homeowners would realize may be in the water they are drinking.
Some of other parameters should be tested every three years, he said. A homeowner in close proximity to an agricultural area may want to have water tested, he added.

Commissioner/Chairman Matthew Osterberg, noted that some people just want a water test for hardness, which may be offered for free by someone wanting to sell a water softener.

To register for one of the workshops, contact the Pike County Conservation District at 570-226-8220 or email Registration is free and all programs are open to the public.

Pike County Commissioners meet on the first and third Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Administration Building, 506 Broad St., Milford, PA.

More information about the Pike County Conservation District is available at or by calling 570-226-8220.

Protecting Groundwater

Here’s What You Can Do:

Don’t pour household hazardous wastes (paint, moth balls, drain cleaners, etc.) down the drain or on the ground.
Choose natural, less toxic options. Encourage county and local officials to start a household hazardous waste collection program. Have lawn and garden soils tested beforeapplying fertilizers and do not apply before a rainfall. Contact your local Penn State Cooperative Extension office, 570-296-3400, to get a soils test kit to help measure the amount of fertilizer to use in your lawn or garden. Properly dispose of used motor oil
Recycle used motor oil by taking it to a service station or local recycling center. One gallon of used motor oil can pollute up to two million gallons of water. On icy pavement, use sand, ashes or chip the ice off when possible. If using salt, use in moderation. Have your water tested. Water testing can provide important information on the quality of your water and treatment measures that may be needed.