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Following up on a call asking about the water composition at rural hot springs, there was related information to the local arsenic problem.  As a part of the drinking water section of the Extension Healthy Homes Partnership curricula I get calls about water quality coming out of wells.  Questions about Iron, Manganese, and more recently Arsenic are called in.

The hot springs call asked whether reports were around showing the water composition from analyses that might have been done in past years. From knowing what was in the water at what concentrations, it was hoped that there may be an answer as to what has prevented corrosion in the black iron pipes which port the hot water into the lodge.  (A co-worker told me that when operating, the ambient hot water was used for everything- even the commode which was very disconcerting!).

A local engineer who mitigates Arsenic mentioned that when exposed to Iron in well water form (at a ratio of 1:16) the Iron will cling to the Arsenic and the two then can be pulled out together when the Iron is filtered out.  In this case, a knowledgeable geologist who studies metal migrations in ground water mentioned that often hot springs waters have a high concentration of Manganese, Zinc and other chemicals which tend to snatch up the Oxygen up right away; thus it never gets to the iron piping freely to oxidize and create corrosion.  While most people are putting salts in their well water to ‘soften’ it, it is worth keeping in mind that finding the correct mineral combinations, you may be able to ‘take out’ roaming chemicals! There are a couple water treatment system vendors and two labs you can take water samples to in Fairbanks if you are interested in cleaning up your water!