Whether you use a residential well, municipal well or both, you have to be able to spot signs of danger.
Understanding how wells work can help keep you and your loved ones safe. For starters, residential wells rely on groundwater reserves. One of the most common issues in these private wells is bacteria, which are usually basically harmless (though a little gross) and may cause upset stomachs.
Chemicals like pesticides and gasoline also can contaminate wells, as can natural chemicals, such as arsenic and magnesium. Regular testing of well water will alert you early to contamination and can give you the time you need to act.
Well owners should know the depth of their wells as well as the pipe length, and they should keep up to date on droughts and water quality concerns in the region. Know when your water was last tested and commit to re-testing every year.
Always test for nitrates, which can come from runoff from fertilizers and septic systems. A well expert will know if arsenic and radon, two of the most dangerous chemicals (which are rarely found in dangerous quantities), are a potential problem in your town too. Whenever possible, keep chemicals and waste far away from your well. Always dispose properly of chemicals and deep them out of septic systems.
For homeowners near gas stations or old landfills, testing for VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) is important. Pesticide testing is a must for anyone with a well located near a farm. Get rid of pesticides and other chemicals properly, and minimize garden chemicals you use. Keep pharmaceuticals out of the toilet, and always call the local water company if something seems off.
Red flags include change in your water’s color, taste or smell. But not all changes are necessarily dangerous. Remember that well water naturally has a different taste, color and smell than city water.
Trouble in the Big City
Homeowners who rely on city water are really depending on their local government to provide treated, tested water that abides by the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act. However, you should know which water system (reservoir? lake?) feeds your municipal supply.
With over 170,000 public systems in the country doling out over 1 billion cups of tap water every day, it can be challenging to stay on top of quality. Fortunately, water supplies meet with few problems, but it’s important to stay alert. Let Mike Zimmerman Well Services help — we are your nearby well water professionals, serving residential and commercial customers alike.