Do You Need Water Quality Tests?
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 is 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 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 tested as 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. 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 or your property is near any businesses which may use produce or discharge contaminants, such as dry cleaners, junkyards, gas stations, mining operations or chemical plants. Additionally, if there are recurring instances of gastrointestinal complaints in your family, you have an infant or you are pregnant, water testing should be a priority. 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:
Greg Scott is President of Valparaiso based Miracle/EcoWater Systems, the premier water conditioning company in Northwest Indiana serving the Lake, Porter and LaPorte County areas. A 3rd generation water treatment professional, Greg grew up in the family owned business started by his grandfather in the late fifties. He has made water treatment his life and under his direction and high-standards, the company’s water treatment experience, knowledge, and products are unrivaled in region.