I used to do drama in high school and one of the school plays was Arsenic and Old Lace. In 1944 it was made into a movie starring Cary Grant and the premise behind it was that a man finds out that his beloved aunts are homicidal maniacs that poison people with arsenic. It’s a funny play to do and a funny movie, if you like old movies. Why am I talking about old Cary Grant movies and what does that have to do with real estate in Salem Oregon? Well…the senate just passed SB 739, which will require sellers to test for arsenic during a real estate transaction.

Sellers have had to test for nitrates and coliform bacterias for some time now, and this bill will add arsenic to the list of required tests. The bill also allows DHS some leeway in ordering other tests for contaminants for specific areas.  This makes sense for areas such as Lebanon Oregon, where it is known that there are chemical pollutants in some wells. It makes sense to require wells in that area be tested for those chemicals to ensure the safety of the water.

I have long added arsenic and lead to the water testing requests that my buyers make of sellers during a real estate transaction. I’m not sure how many buyers know to test for arsenic so this is a good thing for consumers. It is an additional expense for sellers but it is fairly inexpensive.

A home with a well that has arsenic in it, is not a reason to panic.  Arsenic is a naturally occurring element, and water can be purified typically with a reverse osmosis pump,  There is a connection between internal organ cancers and consuming low levels of arsenic over time, so it is important to test for arsenic.  I also encourage parents that have children or families that want to have children to test the water for lead. Lead exposure in children has long been known to cause neurological damage.

The bill is off to the house and hopefully this will get passed.  Buyers of acreage properties in the Salem Oregon area should be testing their water to know exactly what they are getting.  Buyers remember though, that testing doesn’t stop after you purchase the property. You should be testing your water annually.

Remember it is your health.