Arsenic Levels Drop For North Idaho Neighborhood

ATHOL - Idaho - People in a neighborhood near Athol are still concerned about arsenic in their drinking water. Levels spiked to around 90 parts per billion in June, nine times the legal limit.

But the latest water results show arsenic levels have dropped back down around the federal limit at 10 parts per billion.

The Department of Environmental Quality, DEQ, is not sure what is causing the fluctuation.

The department reports arsenic levels went above the legal limit last year. It dropped in October and then climbed again in the spring, eventually reaching 91 parts per billion in June.

The drop is little comfort for some residents that depend on the Lynnwood Estate Water Association well.

People like Scott Whitehurst think the problem will just come back.

18 homes depend on this well and many residents have been buying bottled water that's safe to drink.

For Sue Chambliss, it means $45 to $50 out of her pocket a month.

"I have a couple of dogs and I give them the water. I have to cook," Chambliss said.

According to the DEQ consent order, by the fall the Lynnwood Association has to be able to outline a treatment plan.

One possibility is using a filter system tested in Scott Whitehurst's house. It would be put on the kitchen tap.

"It will help everyone else out. Like I said, we've got the filter but to be honest with you they should be in every sink inside the house," Whitehurst said.

The Lynnwood Association says the filters are more like a temporary fix and are inconvenient. It's exploring another option but was not at liberty to elaborate. If it falls through they may revert back to using the filters.