The average well owner just assumes that their well is providing them with potable water. Unfortunately, this misconception is rarely brought to their attention until it is too late and their water supply is contaminated. Wells tapping ground water resources can provide drinking water of the highest quality. Owning a private well allows homeowners to control their own water supply but this ownership comes with the responsibility of keeping the well in good working order. Those who receive their water from a private well are solely responsible for the safety of their
The EPA regulates public water systems. It does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells. Therefore, there are no "experts” regularly monitoring the water quality before it is sent to the tap. It is up to you to take care of it and take all the necessary precautions needed to ensure a healthy water supply. Since a well owner is primarily responsible, it is important to know what poses a threat to the well and the groundwater that supplies it.
There are many contaminants that are naturally occurring and may pose a health risk if found in drinking water. There are also contaminants that are the result of human activity such as manufacturing, agriculture and individual misuse. Most of the possible contaminants are not detectable by sight, taste or smell. Some quality issues can be a nuisance to your laundry or household fixtures. Others may be potential health related contaminants like bacteria, arsenic or radon. Many people do not think about the water quality until they experience some type of quality issue. Every well is unique and has it’s own chemistry and every well should be evaluated on an individual basis. Remember, the quality of your water is directly related to your health.
There are four main reasons that a private well may be producing poor quality water:
1. The well is near contamination sources.
2. Poor construction.
3. Inadequate maintenance and service.
4. The well is not protected from activities that risk contamination.
What can I do to be sure I have good quality water?
The answer is simple - you need to maintain and protect your well! Most people do not realize that maintenance is required in order to protect your water source. A well that is not maintained can not be expected to reliably produce safe water. A properly constructed and maintained well will provide you with many years of quality service. Routine annual maintenance will ensure the proper operation of the well and prolong its years of service, as well as monitor the water quality.
1. Have your water tested every year: You should always have the water tested when you are building or buying a new home to determine the wells initial quality. After that, it is recommended that you test annually, at least for bacteria. If you notice any changes in your water, (odors, color, laundry problems etc.), then you should have it tested more thoroughly. Testing your water can also save you money. By making sure that you have the best quality water possible, you can eliminate the need to buy bottled water. You will also have the information you need to make the right filtration decisions if any are needed.
2. Disinfect your well every year: Over the years, ETR Labs has collected and analyzed a significant amount of data on wells and the water they supply. The most significant being that microorganisms are the number one contaminant found in water. We took that data and used it to develop a product that effectively and safely eliminates microbes in a water supply. This successful well disinfection kit was patented and is now sold throughout the country.
3. Well Head Check: The first step is to check the outside of the well for any physical defects. A broken or missing well cap or a well casing that is less than 12" from the ground (preferably 18") or is located beneath the ground is a concern. Those conditions can allow surface water, insects, rodent and/or debris to enter the well. A good seal on the cap reduces issues. You can tell if the is a good seal if the bolts around the edge are vertical as in the right hand well head below, rather than horizontal like the middle one.
A properly protected well.