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Water Well Quality Testing
Water quality testing is an important part of protecting your drinking water. If you are on a public water supply, the municipality will do its own testing for contaminants, but if you have a private well, it’s up to you to make sure that your drinking water is safe. Many people don’t test their wells even though they should. Here are some common questions and answers about well water quality.
What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t test my water?
Consuming unsafe water can lead to illness, but more critically, failing to test your well could mean risking a broken or malfunctioning pump. If improperly filtered water has damaged the pump it is connected to, you may have required maintenance done quickly. This might end up costing more than the well water testing.
What should I look for when buying a filter system?
Water filters come in many different shapes and sizes and your choice will depend on what exactly you wish to use it for. The most important factor is that the model chosen can remove contaminants from your water. It’s also advisable to find one that does not contain high concentrations of lead.
How often should I test my well?
It depends on what is being tested. It’s important to check for coliform bacteria at least once a year, whereas testing for arsenic or nitrates may be done once every few years. If your water suddenly changes in color or taste, you should test your water within 24 hours. This could be a sign of an underlying problem, such as a leak in the system or contamination from fracking. If you have been exposed to fracking chemicals, you will need to have your water tested for their presence before it is safe to use for drinking.
What if I find something wrong?
If you find that your well water is unsafe to drink, it will need to be remediated. Depending on what is causing the contamination, this could mean installing a filtration system or completely re-drilling your well. Remediation can also include treating water to make it safe again. If the problem is too severe for home remedies, you may need to find a new water source.
What do the test results mean?
Anyone who works with water quality testing should be well-versed in interpreting the reports they receive. There are several different types of contamination that can make your drinking water unsafe, and each has its own set of numbers and letters associated with it. The most common contaminants are bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, and lead.
What are Nitrates in water?
Nitrates in groundwater come from fertilizer used on crops or leaking septic tanks. Infants below the age of 6 months should not drink untreated water with more than 10 micrograms per liter of nitrate ions or they could become seriously ill.
What is Arsenic in water?
This naturally occurring metal can cause illness and cancer. A common method of removal is to install a reverse osmosis filter that uses charcoal and sand. Some public water supplies will add extra chlorine to make the arsenic less dangerous, but this does not work for private wells.
What is lead in water?
Lead is a heavy metal that accumulates when it’s filtered through pipes. This has been a major problem in the past because old homes were often built with lead plumbing. Lead can cause developmental delays and memory loss, so if your lead levels are over 15 micrograms per liter you should have your well water treated.
What is Coliform in water?
This family of bacteria lives in the digestive tracts of warm-blooded animals and humans, but it can also be found in plants and soil. These bacteria do not cause illness on their own, but they indicate that other pathogens could be present. Fecal coliform comes from fecal matter, so it is also found in human waste.
What are some ways that my water could be contaminated?
Bacteria, nitrates, arsenic, and lead can all contaminate your well water without you knowing about it until you test the water. There are several common culprits, including faulty pipes or old septic tanks. A private well can also be contaminated by fracking chemicals.
What can I do if my well is contaminated?
If you suspect that your water has been contaminated, there are several types of experts you can contact for help. The first place to start is a lab or company that specializes in testing drinking water supplies. If they find something harmful, you’ll need to get in touch with Thorough Home Inspections that can recommend you a contractor to undertake water remediation.
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