A Few Things To Know About Testing Your Well Water
If you've just moved into a new home that has well water, you should educate yourself about the importance of regular water testing. Many things can affect the quality of water from your well. If the water becomes contaminated, your family can get sick from drinking it or washing with it. Therefore, you want to ensure the water is as safe as possible when it comes flowing out of your faucets. Here are a few things to know about testing your well water.
Know Your Local Environment
You can talk to a well contractor or your county extension office to learn about contaminants commonly found in your area. Water quality varies in different locations due to the type of rocks and soil in the region. Also, nearby industry and agricultural operations could impact your water quality. Fertilizers from farms or industrial waste could make their way into your water. By knowing your potential hazards, you'll know what specific contaminants to test for every year.
Have Regular Standard Tests
You'll want to test your water on a regular basis. Once a year may be often enough if you live in an isolated area. If you live next to a commercial farm or a manufacturing plant, you may want to test your water more often for peace of mind. Some things you want to test for no matter where you live include water pH, nitrates, bacteria, and dissolved solids. Besides these standard tests, you can have the lab run other tests that are specific to your local area.
Coliform bacteria are important to check for because they are an indicator of the potential number of biological organisms in your water. While coliform bacteria are not harmful themselves, if your water has a high number of them, it indicates the conditions are ideal for other germs and parasites to flourish. Nitrates are also important to track because these can make you sick if the level is too high in your water. Nitrates often come from storm water runoff or from commercial farming operations, but they can also be found naturally in the environment due to plant decay. It's also helpful to know the pH of your water. If it is too acidic, it could damage your plumbing and affect how your water tastes.
Have Additional Tests When Needed
In addition to your regular water tests, you want to have your water quality checked after certain events. For example, a flood can deposit harmful chemicals and other contaminants into your water supply, so it is a good idea to have your water tested if your well is flooded. If your water suddenly smells bad, tastes differently, or has solids in it, you should have it tested for new contaminants. Also, if your family is repeatedly getting sick with stomach ailments, it could be a sign your water is contaminated with bacteria, so you should test it just to make sure the water is not the source of your problem.
Once you have the results of your water test, the next step is dealing with problems you find. If your well is seriously contaminated, you may need to have a new well dug or even find a totally new source of water. However, in many cases, the solution is to install water filters in your home. You can install a filter under your sink that removes heavy metals, nitrates, biological organisms, and chemical contaminants. In addition, a contractor may need to clean and disinfect your pump and other parts of the well that are contaminated with runoff or floodwater.
For assistance, talk to a professional like Neilson Research Corporation.