Did you recently purchase a home with a well system and aren’t sure how to manage it? Maybe you’ve lived in a property with a well for years and just never got around to learning the ropes. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently compiled a list of the most common questions homeowners have about wells. These are the highlights—but they don’t take the place of routine well inspections. Having an annual or bi-annual well maintenance check is crucial for optimal functioning and the healthiest, best tasting water.
What Kinds of Wells Are There?
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers three major well types: Dug, drilled and driven. One isn’t necessarily “better” than the other—and even if that were the case, it would be costly to swap out one type of well for another, especially when the original is functioning just fine. The type of well you have depends on where you live, how old the well is and perhaps the preference of the original owner.
What you do need to know is the type of well you have when it comes time for maintenance, repairs or emergency appointments.
Where Do I Get Drinking Water From?
Most Americans get their drinking water from public water systems, but there are still millions who rely on private wells. If you have a well, you’re using ground water as your primary water source—for both drinking and washing. Assuming your well is maintained, that ground water is carefully filtered so you get all the positive benefits without any contaminants.
Is Testing Really Necessary?
Yes, testing is a must, no matter how new or high tech your well may be. The EPA is in charge of making sure public water is healthy, but as a well owner that responsibility falls on you. It’s easy, affordable and fast to test well water, and should be a priority at least once per year.
Can Well Water Really be Contaminated?
There are many contaminants that can make their way into water, whether it’s a private well or the public water system. Very few of these contaminants are severely dangerous, but they can still cause issues if not addressed. The most common contaminants are natural chemicals (radon, arsenic, etc.), products from nearby land practices such as fertilizers, overflow from sewers or poorly functioning nearby wastewater treatments like septic tanks.
If you notice any change in your water, have a pro test it immediately. Chances are it’s nothing serious, but it’s worth it to opt for bottled water until a technician arrives. As a well owner, you get the benefits of more “good elements” in your water, a better taste (at least according to many well owners) and lower water bills. Just remember that you’re the CEO of water quality control in your home, so wear that hat with pride—and don’t put testing on the back burner.