OHA offers free private well testing for those impacted by wildfires


Eligible property owners will receive vouchers

The town of Detroit months after the Beachie Creek Fire, December 2020 (Courtesy: Zach Urness)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Health Authority announced it will be issuing free, private well testing vouchers to property owners impacted by the 2020 Labor Day wildfires.

The move aims to prevent anyone from drinking or using contaminated drinking water, according to OHA. The vouchers will cover the cost of testing for Arsenic, Nitrate, Bacteria, Lead, and, depending on damage assessment results, Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylenes.

All of the following criteria must be met: 

  • The property was impacted by the 2020 Oregon wildfires
  • The well water is used for things like drinking, bathing cooking and washing dishes
  • The well has 3 or fewer connections and is not part of a regulated water system

OHA said applicants will not be asked to share citizen status in the application and a person’s status does not affect eligibility to receive a voucher.  

If demand for well testing vouchers exceeds supply, OHA said it will prioritize vouchers for: 

  • Households that meet certain income thresholds, and  
  • Communities that have been historically underserved including people of color 
  • Properties that had the greatest damage 
  • Second homes and vacation rental homes will not be prioritized

Application deadline is May 15, 2021 and vouchers are limited: Apply here.

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