The Whiskey Hollow spring on Whiskey Hollow Road in Memphis, NY. It is set in the forested Whiskey Hollow Nature Preserve with a single PVC pipe channeling water that appears to be coming out of the bedrock.
What's in the Water?
Nitrate (NO3-) is an essential nutrient for plants and is a main component of agricultural fertilize. It is often found in natural waters and leafy vegetables. The EPA maximum contaminant level (MCL) for municipal drinking water is 10 mg/l. Excessive intake of nitrate can be hazardous, particularly for infants. According to the EPA “Infants below six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome.” (EPA)
Chloride (Cl-) is a naturally occurring element and is common in the shale that makes up much of the bedrock in central New York. It can be an indicator of road salt contamination in higher concentrations. (WHO)
Fluoride (F-) occurs naturally in water after interaction with fluoride-bearing minerals. In small amounts it helps prevent tooth decay. Excessive exposure over time can promote bone fractures. In children under the age of 8 overexposure can promote pits in tooth enamel. (EPA)
Sulfate (SO42-) is a natural component in the sedimentary bedrock of central New York. Because it is highly soluble in water, it is commonly found in natural water. There are little to no adverse health effects within the threshold limit. In concentrations between 1000-1200 mg/L sulfates can cause diarrhea and thereby dehydration. (WHO)
Total Coliform: Coliform bacteria are common in the environment and most are harmless to humans. However, coliform bacteria in drinking water can indicate the presence of disease-causing pathogens. We use a Lamotte kit that gives a positive or negative result.
Fecal Coliform: are a subgroup of coliform bacteria that live in the intestines and feces of people and animals. Their presence in drinking water can indicate recent fecal contamination. We use a quantitative test based on EPA Test Method 9132 that measures the number of bacterial colonies per volume of water.
See New York State Municipal Water Standards for more specific maximum concentrations.