What is the project?

Maine and New Hampshire have among the highest per capita reliance on private wells for drinking water in the United States (ME: 56% and NH: 40%). Approximately 10% of Maine wells and 20% of New Hampshire wells have elevated levels of arsenic, yet well water testing rates are low in both states. As part of an NIH-Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA), the MDI Biological Laboratory is engaging students and teachers in Maine and New Hampshire in well water testing. Data collected from the project will be analyzed by students and teachers and used in two ways: 1) To cultivate data literacy by teaching students how to understand, create, and communicate scientific data. 2) To identify well water contamination solutions that communities can translate into action, particularly arsenic mitigation strategies.

What do I need to do?

Your child’s teacher will send a Parent Packet home, which includes: 

  • A pre-labeled 50 mL tube with your sample number.
  • Parafilm to seal the test tube (wrap around the lid after you’ve closed the tube).
  • A pre-labeled refrigerator magnet with your sample number.

Collect a water sample and enter information about your well onto Anecdata.org (more information on the reverse). Send your sample back to school with your child. Your sample will be shipped to the Dartmouth Trace Element Analysis Core and analyzed for 13 contaminants, including arsenic. After a few weeks, results will be uploaded by project coordinators to the All About Arsenic project on Anecdata and you will be able to check them whenever you want. Use the refrigerator magnet your child’s teacher sent home to keep track of your sample number. If you have any questions about your results, you can: