Tips for Managing Your Private Well Water Supply
Water safety is of utmost importance to our health. If the water in your home is coming from a private well supply, the onus will be on you to make sure it meets the minimum standards for safe use. Here are some tips for properly managing your private well-water supply.
Regular Physical Inspection
Every year, you should thoroughly inspect the physical structure of the well. It is important to note any damage, such as corrosion, holes or cracks. The well cap should be secure. If there are any issues that need to be addressed, they should be addressed immediately to prevent the risk of contamination. On a somewhat related note, if your well has a spring, you should check it regularly to ensure it is properly sealed as to keep out contaminants; springs are very vulnerable to contamination so you should have them checked for bacteria along with your water.
Proper Water Testing
Regular water testing is non-negotiable. Experts recommend getting a yearly test to check for coliform bacteria, which can cause gastro-intestinal upset. Whether or not it is present can also give an indication of more dangerous forms of bacteria. It is recommended to test every three years for TDS, nitrates, pH level and any other potential contaminants that may affect your local area.
An example of the latter would be if the land around your house was used for certain purposes, such as farming,drilling for gas or coal mining. You should always use a certified lab for testing; to gauge the safety of your water, compare results to the safety levels of public drinking water established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ensure Proper Construction
A properly constructed well is a safe well that presents minimal risk of dangerous contamination. The well casing should be high enough to prevent surface water from ever entering. A sanitary cap or concrete cover is necessary, depending on what type of well you have—this will keep out various forms of contamination such as outside substances, small animals and insects. On a somewhat related construction note, you might also consider getting a water level sensor to track the amount of water in the well and alert you to any issues should there be drops.
Cleanliness of Surrounding Area
The area surrounding your well should also be in tip-top shape. Ensure there is no paint, garbage, motor oil, fertilizers, pesticides or chemicals of any kind. Never dispose of waste water near the well— the same goes for a sinkhole as this could end up contaminating the water supply. If you have a septic tank, chemical facility or oil tank on your property, the well should be at least 100 feet away from these structures.
To ensure your well is functioning properly and safely, you should get a professional inspection every 10 years by a technician with a WWP (water well and pump) designation. This is crucial for your safety as well as the safety of others around you, who could be affected by contamination in your well.