As of 2019, 43 million Americans did not have access to public water systems and relied on private wells. Indeed, a 2015 report by the United States Geological Survey, or USGS showed that 11-30 percent of residents in Louisiana got their water supply from private wells. The national average was 14 percent.
Unlike public water systems, these wells are not regulated and present an increased health risk from waterborne contaminants like pesticides, herbicides, and even sewage. In addition, because these wells are dug out of necessity due to lack of access to public utilities, those facing a health risk are also usually at a socioeconomic disadvantage.
This issue is at the heart of a National Science Foundation Partnerships for Innovation-Technology Translation, or PFI-TT, project by LSU Chemical Engineering Associate Professor Kevin McPeak and LSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Samuel Snow. The pair are working with Troy Smith at Kingdom Technology Services in Houston. Smith has decades of experience in the UV water treatment business and will advise on the project.