Van Riper State Park deals with arsenic report

Campers may cancel their reservations

MARQUETTE –In preparation for a water system improvement project, drinking water at Van Riper State Park in Marquette County was tested and found to contain arsenic in levels slightly above government health standards.

Park staff was notified Wednesday by the Marquette County Health Department that the arsenic concentration at the facility was 14 parts per billion, 4 parts above the standard. The water remains safe for hand-washing and showering.

A truck is available to provide potable water to campers at the park. The upgrade to the park’s water system is slated to take place in September, which is expected to alleviate the problem.

Because of this inconvenience, campers who would like to cancel their reservations, may do so without penalty. Currently, reservations are being charged at the semi-modern rate: 30-amp sites are $20 per night and 50-amp sites are $24 per night.

Rate changes are being handled by park staff. Cancellations are being addressed by the DNR’s reservation system, CAMIS, internally. CAMIS can be contacted at 1-800-447-2757.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element widely distributed in the earth’s crust. A large source of total arsenic comes from the food we eat. However, most of the arsenic in food is in an organic form, which is much less harmful than the inorganic arsenic found primarily in groundwater. Some foods also contain inorganic arsenic, but the main exposure to inorganic arsenic is normally from consuming water.

There are several potential sources of arsenic in drinking water, including the erosion of natural deposits.

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