Marianna Water Contamination

Potentially dangerous levels of arsenic and lead have turned up in water samples from wells near Marianna, Florida.

State officials are trying to determine the source of the problem and helping neighborhood residents cope with the situation.

Public health officials first became aware of the problem after someone told them a relative suspected their cancer was caused by their water supply.

The problem has been isolated in a neighborhood just off Merritt's Mill Road on the outskirts of Marianna. The state Department of Environmental Protection is taking soil and water samples.

79 wells have been tested. 39 tests have been completed and 19 of those came back positive for arsenic or lead. Some levels are more than 60 times acceptable limits.

Neighborhood residents have been warned about the problem. And the state is providing residents with water filters.

Long-range plans call for extending the county water system into the neighborhood. The state could help the county pay for the project and even help homeowners tie into the system.

Officials hope to finalize plans for extending the county water system later this month. More test results should be back within a couple of weeks.

The state also plans to take samples from nearby Merritt's Mill Pond and find out if it is also contaminated.