Did you know that Utah water wells are not regulated by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency? For that matter, neither is any private water supply.
Pollutants in the Utah groundwater could contaminate your well, making your water
unsafe to drink, and you may never know unless you detect a difference in the water.
Some common pollutants pose a contamination risk in our state. Let’s take a look at
what those are and how they can affect your family’s health.
The Risk of Coliform Bacteria in Utah Water Wells
Coliform bacteria are microscopic organisms that are commonly found in the
environment, specifically on plants and in the soil. They can also be found in the
intestines of humans and animals. In fact, most coliform bacteria pathogens that
contaminate private wells come from fecal matter.
Most strains of this pathogen are, by themselves, harmless. However, finding even a
trace amount could indicate the possibility of disease-causing bacteria or viruses in your
private well. Your family could be drinking water that contains hepatitis, cholera, typhoid
fever, dysentery or other serious diseases.
In Utah, private well owners should test their water for coliform bacteria at least once
each year. Testing should also be completed any time you have work done on your well
or when critical issues, like flooding or septic tank leaks, affect the area around the well.
The Effect of Nitrates on Water Wells
Nitrates are formed naturally in groundwater at a level that does not cause health
issues. However, fertilizers, septic systems, industrial waste and well construction
problems can introduce unsafe levels of nitrates into water wells. And, just as with
coliform bacteria, private well owners should test for nitrates yearly, or whenever
changes affect the well.
High levels of nitrates in well water pose a serious health risk to young infants, as the
pollutant can interfere with the way the blood transports oxygen. Pregnant women may
also be at risk, as some research suggests that excess nitrates may play a part in
causing spontaneous miscarriages.
Arsenic May Be Present in Water Wells in Utah
Arsenic is an element that occurs naturally in rocks and soil. It enters the groundwater
through erosion or as a result of agricultural and industrial pollution. Long-term
exposure to arsenic has been linked with several types of cancer as well as diabetes,
heart conditions, strokes, developmental defects and many other health issues.
Well testing for arsenic should also be conducted every year.
These three contaminants aren’t the only ones that can affect the safety of your water,
but they are among the most common in Utah. To ensure that your water supply
remains safe for drinking, cooking and bathing, contact Mike Zimmerman Well Service
LLC to schedule your annual test. We look forward to helping you maintain the safety of
your water well.