The Importance of Well Water Testing
If your home has a well water system, it is not protected by mandatory quality testing like public drinking water systems are. For that reason, it is important to make sure that well water systems are regularly tested to make sure it is safe to drink and use for washing dishes, clothes, showering, and more.
What is Well Testing?
Let’s start with an explanation of the differences between city & well water.
Well testing is conducted on water samples from the well water system to ensure the water isn’t contaminated by dangerous bacteria, germs, or chemicals.
Since it is not required by the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] that well water systems receive regular testing, it is a good idea to commit to having your water tested at least once a year. Checking your well system once a year helps ensure the mechanical parts of the system are in good working order and that the water isn’t contaminated.
Why Should Your Well Water Be Tested?
There are a number of contaminants and hazards that you should look out for when testing your well water. These include:
- Total Coliforms
- Fecal Coliform/E.Coli
- Volatile Organic Compounds
Below is more information on each contaminant and why you should test for them.
Coliform bacteria are microbes. They don’t typically make you sick, but if the “total coliforms” are tested and return at a high level, it can indicate the presence of harmful germs, parasites, or bacteria.
Fecal Coliform can be tested for by itself. While they are usually harmless, elevated levels can indicate that your well water has been contaminated by fecal matter and harmful germs. These can lead to illnesses like dysentery, hepatitis, and more.
The pH level of your well water can completely change the look and taste of your water. If the pH levels are too high or too low, the water can damage your plumbing, causing metals like lead to leak into your water, and potentially make you ill.
Nitrate is one of the most important things to test for in a well water test. High levels of nitrates can make you and your family very sick. This is why a nitrate test is recommended for all well water systems. If the nitrate levels are too high, it may be time to consider another location for your well.
Volatile Organic Compounds [VOCs]
VOCs are chemicals that come from fuel or industrial waste. At certain levels, VOCs can cause health concerns but their presence is largely dependent on where you live. It is the best practice to ask your local health or environmental department if VOCs are an issue in your area.
Other Chemicals and Contaminants
Some well water testing depends on the location of your well. It may be important to test for lead, arsenic, mercury, and pesticides if you live in certain areas. Your local Inspect-It-First professional will know exactly which well water tests are needed for your area.
When Should You Get Your Well Tested?
It is recommended that you have your well water tested each year, usually in the spring. Some other signs that point to you needing to test your water are as follows:
- There is a change in water quality (i.e. taste, color, odor)
- Problems with well water have been reported in your area.
- You have had problems around your well (floods, digging around the area, nearby waste disposal sites).
- Parts of your well system have been replaced or repaired.
You should also have the well water tested before you list your home for sale, before you buy a home, before a home inspection, and before renting a home with well water.
Who Should Perform Your Well Water Testing?
Well water testing is a complicated and highly scientific process requiring lab time and specialized equipment. Your local Inspect-It-First has all the tools and professional skills needed for well water testing. So when you suspect that your water may be contaminated or if you just want to have your well tested for peace of mind, call Inspect-It-First for the best in well water testing.