Buying a home with a private well adds a new level of responsibility. While municipal water supplies are regulated and monitored by the EPA, the safety of private well water supplies remains the responsibility of the property owner. This means that as a private well owner, you need to ensure that your water supply is safe for your whole family. If you are used to receiving water from a municipal supply, this responsibility can be a little daunting, so here we will explore the basic steps you’ll need to take to protect your water supply.
Protecting Your Health and the Groundwater
According to state health officials, properly maintaining a well that taps into the groundwater is vital for protecting not only the resource, but also personal health. For over two decades, National Groundwater Awareness Week has been bringing attention to the critical role the groundwater plays in our health and wellbeing. Since your well relies on the groundwater, you need to ensure that your well does not compromise this precious resource. The Department of Health recommends a number of basic steps to ensure that private wells are properly maintained to protect the groundwater and drinking water.
The first step is a basic wellhead inspection. This is important to keep rodents, snakes, insects and other critters from out of your well. You should also ensure that snowplows, lawnmowers and other landscaping equipment are kept well away from your well.
The Well Maintenance Three Cs
There are three basic Cs that can help you with your well maintenance routine. Cap, Casing, and Conduit. Firstly, you need to ensure that your well cap is not damaged, missing or improperly attached. You should periodically check that the cap is securely attached and your connections are still watertight. Casing refers to checking the well casing for any corrosion or cracks. You will need to inspect the well pipe to look for any signs of damage and ensure that you call in a licensed well contractor to perform any repairs quickly. Finally, Conduit refers to confirming your electric service wire conduit is securely connected to your well cap.
Another important step of owning a private well is water testing. Well owners should test the water supply at least once each year to ensure that it is safe. You’ll need to check with your local county health department for details of certified testing laboratories in your area or call in a water treatment specialist.
The specifics of the basic water test will depend on the contaminants that are native to your geographical area. Most testing will include checks for nitrates, lead, arsenic, and bacteria. While annual testing may be sufficient, if there are any water changes, local flooding, heavy rains or snowmelt, you may need to retest your water to ensure that it has not been compromised.
If you have concerns about your well water supply, you should speak to an experienced water treatment specialist. A fully WQA certified professional can not only test your water for contaminant levels, but also guide you through the treatment options that would provide you with a final barrier of protection to ensure that your drinking water remains delicious and safe.
By Terry Reeh, EcoWater Systems of Nebraska.
With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative. Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.