Water Testing: Why it is crucial that you know the quality of your well water
Whether you live in a city like Spokane or Chattaroy, Washington, the safety of your water is paramount. There is an old and popular phrase, “Water is life”, and it is, literally. Your survival is impossible without clean water and that is why you need to monitor the water in your well. While having the well itself is a great step, knowing the quality of your water is essential to living a healthy life. If you have never thought about it, you should know that water comes in at the second position as the most commonly used resource, after oxygen. That alone paints a clear picture of how essential this commodity is.
Still, most of us tend to overlook this basic step: water testing. If you have not already tested you well water, you can contact us and let us do it for you. Still, you might be wondering…………….
Why should I test my well water?
Unlike municipal water that gets regular chemical treatment in an effort to disinfect it, well water is often neglected. What you might not realize as a home owner is that even your newly dug well is not necessarily free of toxins.
Contamination in you water well might be caused by high concentrations of nitrates and minerals in and around the soil. Contaminants such as lead, iron, or mercury can have adverse health effects, landing you or your family in hospital.
Testing your well water helps resolve problems and prevent health complications in future. Resolving the underlying issues will be easier once we understand your well problem and coming up with an effective solution will save you from worrying about contracting illnesses from your water.
Additionally, if you have noticed either of the following signs, it is time to call us and have your water supply tested:
- Visual cues: scum in your water is a sign of calcium and magnesium salts in water. Cloudy water can be due to clay salt, silt, dirt, or rust while staining (green stains) on faucets and sinks is a sign of high water acidity. Noticeable red/brown stains on clothes, sinks, or dishwashers means your water contains dissolved iron that can lead to skin complications and make it hard for water to lather. Colored water is a clear indication of contamination.
- Taste: when your well water has high sodium content, it will taste salty or brackish while a metallic taste is because of acidity or high iron content. Dissolved alkaline minerals will give water a soapy taste and chemicals or pesticides will make water have a distinct chemical taste.
- Smell: clean healthy water, after establishing it is contaminant free, should be odorless. Bacteria infested water or when contaminated by hydrogen sulfide will have a rotten egg odor. When the water smells as if it contains cleaning detergent or is foamy, there might be a leak from the septic tank. This calls for instant hiring of an expert to do the inspection. You should also stop using the water immediately until the testing complete and you have the results to resume. Musty or earthy odors on the other hand could be because of decaying organic matter.
If you have not dug a water well yet, testing the underground water might save you from spending more than you would have meant to. The recommendation by the Environment Protection Agency is that water testing should be done by a state certified laboratory. They can be hard to trace, but we can have it done on your behalf.
When should well water quality be tested?
It is always advisable that you test well water quality before digging a well or when choosing a home to purchase. Even with some of the signs covered above, it is often harder to tell if a water well is contaminated unless it is tested by a professional. Tests can also range, depending on the suspected contaminant.
The general recommendation is that you have your well water tested at least once annually for bacteria and nitrates. The most prolific bacteria tested in water is in coliform. These are mostly bacteria that seep into your well form sewer based waste. Though most have cannot cause diseases, they can be a sign of the presence of more harmful bacteria in your well water.
High nitrate (NO3–) or nitrite (NO2–) levels dissolved in water should be a danger sign. These minerals can cause health complications, especially in children.
It is also prudent to test water in case there are recurrent health complications such as gastro-intestinal illnesses. If you leave in an agriculturally intensive zone, there is a likelihood of water well contamination by pesticides, particularly when there is a storm or heavy rains. These should be signs that you need to test your well water regularly.
Basic water tests you should do include:
- Basic water portability: this tests a variety of minerals and bacteria.
- Coliform bacteria: tests for harmful bacteria that can deteriorate your health.
- Nitrate: common in groundwater, high levels can be dangerous to babies below 6 months old, interfering with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
- Ions: they cause water to have and odor or unusual taste.
- Sulfate: in excess, sulfate has a laxative effect, causing gastrointestinal irritation.
- Fluoride: though this is an essential micronutrient, it causes dental complications when consumed in excess.
Water treatment Techniques
There are a variety of water treatment options for well water, which we have been using for our clients over the years. More importantly, we understand, from our experience and expertise that no single treatment option works for all problems. For that reason, it is critical that you contact us as soon as you need a water well system repaired, installed or serviced. Remember that some contaminants can be because of a failed water pump system for the well.
Available options depending on the water problem include:
- Filtration: water filtration systems eliminate impurities from water by use of a physical barrier, biological, and/or chemical process.
- Softeners: used to reduce water “hardness” this process involves replacement of calcium and magnesium ions with sodium or potassium ions.
- Distillation: this process involves the boiling of impure water, then collecting the steam and finally condensing it in a separate container. This leaves most of the solid contaminants in the boiler.
- Disinfection: this is either a physical or a chemical process that kills or deactivates the pathogens present in the well water. Popular chemical disinfectants include chlorine and ozone.
As you can tell by now, there is no disputing the importance of well water testing. Although all this information might be a lot to take in, the bottom line is that you have safe and clean water from your well. By contacting us, you will have access to much more than water testing. You will have a professional perspective and technical expertise on how to safeguard your well water by transferring that responsibility to our able team.