When Should You Have Your Water Tested?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the testing and standards of public drinking water supplies. However, these rules are not applicable to individual water systems including private wells. Therefore, as a well owner, it is is up to you to ensure that your water is free of harmful agents and safe to drink.
There are several WQI or Water Quality Indicators and a number of contaminants that should be tested for, within your water supply. A WQI test measures the presence and levels of certain germs or bacteria in the water. While the presence of WQIs may not be an immediate cause of sickness, the presence may indicate potential issues such as sewer contamination or disease causing bacteria or germs.
Some examples of WQIs include fecal coliforms such as Escherichia coli or the E-Coli bacteria. This particular germ can cause dysentery, diarrhea and even hepatitis. Other WQIs include the water pH, which determines the acidity of the water. This can affect the pipes in your home or encourage heavy metals to leak into the water.
There are also some common contaminants which can compromise the water quality such as nitrates, or volatile organic compounds, which can create a number of detrimental health effects such as Blue Baby Syndrome or even an increased risk of developing certain forms of cancer.
When Should Well Water Be Tested?
The minimum recommended testing frequency is at least once a year. It is a good idea to schedule water testing each spring. You should also consider testing more frequently if there are known issues in your area or you have experienced any problems near the location of your well. For example, land disturbances or flooding can allow contaminants to accumulate in your well water from runoff.
You should not delay testing your well water if you suspect it may have been compromised by contaminants. If you notice any changes in your water quality such as an unpalatable taste, unusual color or bad odor, you should have your water tested immediately. These may indicate a potential problem such as a contaminant from heavy metals or other contaminants, however, there are many contaminants such as bacteria or germs which do not affect the appearance, odor or taste of the water. Therefore, you may wish to consider having your well water tested more frequently throughout the year. This should be seriously considered if you live in a rural or industrial area where there is a risk of contaminated runoff after heavy rains or other adverse weather.
As an additional level of water quality safety, you may wish to consider a water filtration system. These systems can eliminate a wide variety of contaminants to ensure that your drinking water is free from heavy metals, germs, bacteria and other unwanted elements. This will ensure that even if your well water has been compromised, you and your family can still enjoy clean, clear drinking water.
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.