Well contaminants are common in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Private homeowner wells are not regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Although they do emphasize the importance of testing your well water for contaminants at least once a year.
As a homeowner of a private well you are responsible for the safety of your water and how you treat it is up to you. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information on basic well knowledge, how to protect your well, and additional tips for those who need it.
Testing Your Well Water
It is important to test your well water every year. You should be testing for total coliform bacteria, dissolved solids, nitrates, and checking the pH levels. It is recommended that you contact your local health department to learn if there are any substances in your area’s groundwater that you need to test for, too. It is possible to test for those specifically if needed. If you live with young children, elderly adults, or someone that is pregnant, it is recommended to test your water more often since these groups are more vulnerable to pollutants.
If you notice any sudden changes within your well water you should test it. For example:
- You had flooding or land disturbances in your area recently
- There are recent known issues with the groundwater or drinking water in your area
- A part on your well system has been repaired or replaced recently
- You notice a change in water quality such as smell or taste
There are many other reasons you may have to test your well water more often, so it is important to keep a record of any symptoms you experience or issues you spot around your home such as stained plumbing fixtures.
What Contaminants Can Your Well Water Contain?
- This is a common contaminant that can be in your ground water through a number of events such as surface activities and intense rainfalls. A total coliform bacteria test is commonly used to test for bacteria. A positive test means that you should not consume this water before boiling it. It should be boiled in all instances of consuming water such as preparing food or brushing your teeth. Luckily, this issue can be treated.
- Chemical Contaminants
- Chemical contaminants, if consumed for years, can have health effects. Some chemicals are not much of a health concern, but more of a pain for you as a homeowner using the water. Common contaminants are similar to hard water contaminants like iron and manganese.
Prevent Well Water Pollution
There are many ways to prevent pollution and contaminants from entering your well water.
- Avoid using pesticides, fertilizers, fuels, and other pollutants near your well
- Keep records of well maintenance that require the use of chemicals in your well
- Have the area around your well slope – this will prevent surface runoff from entering your well
- Pump and inspect septic tanks as often as you’ve been recommended by your local health authority
- Test your water and make note of any changes
Remain informed on any local potential contaminants that can enter your water, and the chemical properties of your groundwater. This information is available from professionals such as your local health department officials, public water system officials, and local geologists. Your local newspaper or news source may also inform the public of any planning or zoning. This can pollute your water, so it is best to be prepared for any changes that can occur.
How Suburban Water Technology Can Help
We can fix your water! Our experts are able to treat hard well water, acid water, iron water, volatile organic chemicals, and many other issues. Some contaminants like bacteria or nitrates, must be tested for before treating your water because they are undetectable without it. We’re also able to easily determine the root of your issue once we complete our tests. Contact us to get started on your well water treatment, today!