Do You Need Water Quality Tests in Nebraska?
Whether you have well or municipal water, water quality testing is something that every homeowner should consider. Although those who rely on a private well water supply may already be aware of the importance of testing, impurities can affect any source of drinking water. Impurities can easily and quickly contaminate drinking water and in some cases, if it is not detected immediately, can be a serious health concern. It is recommended that well water be tested at least once each year and if you are municipally supplied, you have your water tested periodically.
The Hidden Dangers of Bacteria
One of the most serious concerns of drinking water contamination is bacteria. Unlike many other types of contaminations, bacteria in water, typically does not affect taste or smell. This means that the only reliable way to determine if potentially harmful bacteria are present is by testing. According to a USGS survey, 23% of over 2,000 private wells tested, contained at least one potentially harmful contaminant.
Although most water supplies contain some form of microorganisms, there are a number of potentially harmful bacteria, which can trigger a number of health issues from gastrointestinal complaints to Legionnaire’s disease. This study highlights the importance of regularly testing your water supply. Every year your well water should be tested for the presence of bacteria, total dissolved solids and nitrates. It is also recommended that you test for pesticides, chloride, metals, arsenic and water hardness.
Warning Signs Your Water Should Be Tested Immediately
Although the common recommendation for municipal water supplies is to be tested periodically and well water annually, there are a number of warning signs, which can indicate a potential problem. It is important that if you notice any changes in the smell, appearance or taste of your water, that you have your water testedas quickly as possible. These warning signs are even more noteworthy if your well is located near a septic tank, where pesticides are in use or where livestock is kept, which is quite common in Nebraska.
You should also have your water tested if you begin to notice staining on fixtures, clothing or glassware. If you have a newly installed well on your property that is near any businesses that may have used or are using, producing or discharging contaminants, such as dry cleaners, junkyards, gas stations, mining operations or chemical plants, have your water tested. If there are recurring instances of gastrointestinal complaints in your family or if you have an infant or are pregnant, have your water tested. Nitrates, in particular, can be very harmful to an unborn fetus or child under the age of six months.
Buying or Selling a Home
Although the EPA does not regulate private well water, when you are buying or selling a home with a private household well, it may require additional water testing. Many lending agencies require that the well water be checked for water quality to receive loan approval. This is typically for lead, nitrate and bacteria testing, but some lending agencies may require more comprehensive testing. Additionally, it may be required by state drinking water agencies that the well water be tested prior to the sale of the property. If you are buying or selling a property with a private well, it is a good idea to check with your realtor to ensure that you comply with any regulations before the sale.
About The Author, 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. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state and 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.