Introduced by Representative Keenan of St. Albans City
Subject: Agriculture; water quality; well testing
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to require the secretary of agriculture, food and markets to collect annually and test a water sample from wells on land adjacent to large and medium farms. The secretary must also collect and test one water sample per year from a well on land adjacent to a small farm if the well owner requests testing. Every water test shall include a test for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, lead, iron, odor, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, synthetic organic contaminants, and volatile organic contaminants. The secretary may include additional testing parameters by rule. All testing shall be conducted by a certified laboratory. Within five business days of a completed test, the secretary shall send the test results to the well owner, the farm owner, the agency of natural resources, and the department of health. If a test exceeds a department of health water quality standard for any parameter, the secretary of agriculture, food and markets shall inform the well owner of the adverse health effects of drinking contaminated water and shall publish notice of the failed water test in a newspaper having general circulation in the area where the well is located. The secretary shall also compile and record the results of well testing for the purpose of studying the groundwater supplies of the state.
AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL WATER QUALITY
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 6 V.S.A. chapter 215, subchapter 6 is added to read:
Subchapter 6. Well Testing
§ 4870. DEFINITIONS
As used in this subchapter:
(1) “Certified laboratory” means a laboratory certified under section 501b of Title 18 or a laboratory certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program.
(2) “Small farm” means a farm defined in subdivision 4857(3) of this title.
(3) “Well” means any hole deeper than 20 feet drilled, driven, or bored into the earth to locate, monitor, extract, or recharge groundwater.
§ 4871. WELL TESTING
(a) Annually, the secretary shall collect and test a water sample from any well located on land adjacent to a farm permitted under sections 4851 and 4858 of this title.
(b) Upon the request of a landowner, the secretary shall collect and test one water sample per year from a well located on land adjacent to a small farm.
(c) Every water test conducted under this section shall include a test for at least the following parameters: total coliform bacteria, nitrates, nitrites, odor, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, iron, lead, synthetic organic contaminants, and volatile organic contaminants. The secretary may develop by rule a list of additional parameters that shall be required as part of a water test, including parameters specific to an area or county of the state.
(d) Testing and analysis of the water samples collected under subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall be performed by a certified laboratory.
§ 4872. NOTIFICATION OF WELL TEST RESULTS
(a) Within five business days after completion of a water test required by subsections (a) and (b) of section 4871 of this title, the secretary shall send the results of the water test to:
(1) the owner of the land on which the well is located;
(2) the owner or operator of the farm to which the property is adjacent;
(3) the agency of natural resources for use in analysis and mapping of the groundwater resources and contamination in the state; and
(4) the department of health.
(b) If the results of a water test exceed a department of health water quality standard for any parameter, the secretary shall:
(1) notify the owner of the land on which the well is located of the adverse health effects of drinking contaminated water and how and where to obtain safe drinking water; and
§ 4873. WELL TESTING DATA
The secretary shall compile and record the data accumulated from water tests required under section 4871 of this title in a manner that shall be useful to the agency, the agency of natural resources, municipalities, and other governmental entities for the purpose of studying groundwater supplies or contamination in the state.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street