Why Test Your Well Water and How Often?

Underground water reservoirs are rapidly getting polluted by anthropogenic activities. You cannot do much to stop it, but you can regularly test your well-water to confirm whether or not it has been exposed to contaminants. Filtering your water with a whole home filter or a shower filter for well water is great idea if you are on a well.

Why Test Your Well Water?

The public water sources are regularly monitored and treated with disinfectants, but that is not the case for private wells. To save you and your family from life-threatening infectious pathogens, you must test your well water at regular intervals to eliminate the risk of a health crisis. By doing so, you can take appropriate precautionary measures for the treatment.

How Well Water Gets Contaminated?

It is clearly a wonder of nature worth praising; as the water seeps below the ground into the natural aquifers, it gets filtered automatically. Naturally, it does not contain chlorine, fluoride, nitrates, and other chemicals, making it safe to drink. But Well water used to be devoid of contaminants more than a century ago but not now — man-made impurities adulterate it.

If in its vicinity, there is a potential contaminant source, then your well may have been already infected. Here is a list of few sources of man-made impurities.

Commercial sources:

  • Airports, junkyard, railroad tracks, auto repair stations, recycling and waste centers, laundromats, car washes, dry cleaners, gas stations, golf courses, paint shops, floor drains, construction sites, research labs, waste disposal wells, funeral homes, medical institutions, cemeteries.

Agriculture sources:

  • Waste disposal systems, animal feedlots, fertilizer storages, animal burial, manure spreading and stockpiles, pesticide storage, general waste disposal wells, field irrigation, or crops.

Industrial sources:

  • Pipelines, petroleum refineries, oil and gas production storages, chemical manufacture and storage, metal fabrication facilities, machine shops, textile mills, paper mills, foundries, waste disposal wells,

Residential sources:

  • Chemicals, fuel oil storage tanks, floor drains, sewer lines, lawn fertilizer storage, septic tanks, any household chemical storage.

If your private well is within the vicinity of any things mentioned above, then it is more likely infected.

How Often Should You Test It?

Some experts recommend that they should be tested once or twice per year. But whenever you feel like there is a slight change in the taste or smell, you should get it tested right away. For shallower wells near to the surface, this frequency is doubled; we would suggest getting it tested every season as they are more vulnerable to contaminants.

Let us give you a life-altering tip; test your water at the source and the tap. This way, you would be able to identify the problem better.

Types of Well-Water Contaminants

Most of the contaminants cannot be detected by human senses, as they are tasteless, odorless, and colorless — especially the viruses which are 100 times smaller than bacteria. Here are a few types of common well-water impurities and their impacts on human health:

Nitrates:

Potential sources of nitrates are fertilizers, pesticide sprays, animal waste, human sewage, and many chemical substances. They can get into your well water through groundwater movement, underground drainage pipe leakage, and through water-runoff.

These impurities can affect the normal oxygen transportation in the blood, which can lead to suffocation and, in some cases, death due to lack of oxygen.

Micro-organisms:

Bacteria, viruses, and parasites exist everywhere — most of them are potentially harmless, while some are extremely dangerous. A huge number of hazardous microbes exist on human sewage, animal waste, and on the surface of the plants. They can get into your well-water in countless ways. They are known to cause gastrointestinal diseases, typhoid, hepatitis, rashes, fever, etc.

Heavy metals:

These metals include antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, selenium, lead, and many others. These metals can get into your water supply from any industrial or commercial waste disposal areas or even natural earthly deposits. Thousands of people suffer from toxicity, intestinal, liver, and kidney damage and, in the worst-case scenario, cancer.

Radionuclides:

It wouldn’t be inaccurate to assume that these impurities are the worst. They are leftovers of radioactive elements such as radium and uranium. The probability of finding these contaminants in your vicinity is quite low, but we cannot rule out the possibility.

They can be released into the water supply through coal mining, uranium mining, waste disposal from nuclear power stations. A little exposure to these radiations can cause the worst kinds of cancer.

Organic Chemicals:

These are found in almost every household product, including paints, pesticides, dyes, detergents, shampoos, solvents, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, etc. They can reach underwater aquifers through seepage and surface water runoff. 

Organic chemical compounds can cause kidney failures, intestinal problems, stomach aches, liver malfunctions, circulatory and nervous system disorders, and many problems related to the reproductive system.

Fluoride:

Fluoride is used in many filtration procedures, and a little amount is ineffective. It is even known to cure dental problems like tooth decay. However, it is the excess amount that is troublesome, which can cause ache in joints and bones and skeletal fluorosis.

What Tests Should You look for?

You can get the assistance of your local health department to determine the test, but here are some important ones:

  • Claviform bacteria test: For the identification of harmful microbes
  • Basic water potability: For the identification of sodium, bacteria, chloride, pH levels, iron, sulfate, dissolved solids, nitrates, manganese, and water hardness.
  • Nitrate test: To determine nitrate concertation in water.
  • Sulfate test: To find out an excessive amount of sulfate compounds that can cause toxicity.
  • Ions test: The presence of iron, sulfate, chloride, and sodium ions can give rise to distinct odor and taste.
  • Fluoride test: It can cause dental problems, and it is toxic for pregnant women and people with thyroid problems.
  • Total dissolved solids: Test to identify inorganic substances in water.

Conclusion

Waterborne diseases take millions of lives annually; by understanding the severity of the situation, you must get you well-water tested twice or minimum once every year.  Any change in taste, color, or smell is an indication of impurity, giving you a sign that you should test it right away. After understanding, the type of impurity gets the water treated as per the requirement.