New to Drinking Water Wells? What You Need to Know Right Now

Across the United States, 43 million people in 23 million households rely on private wells for their drinking water and now, you’re one of them. The Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate these wells and only provides advice and instruction on how to maintain and test them. Therefore, it is up to homeowners to work out the steps needed to keep clean, healthy water flowing into the home.

When you’re new to private wells, it really isn’t the easiest job to figure out how to manage them. There are so many people who want to sell you filtration systems, inspections or repairs, that it’s hard to know who has your interests at heart and who doesn’t. To help you get started when you move into a home with its own well, here are some important guidelines.

  1. Realize that your well needs just as much maintenance as your home or your vehicle. You already know that vehicle maintenance is vital to keep everyone safe on the road. The purity of your water is just as important to keep everyone healthy and prevent skin, digestive and organ problems. Common contaminants in well water are also frequently involved in causing cancer.
  2. A well that tests pure one year may show signs of contamination the next year. That can happen because of deterioration of the well casing or well head, enabling chemicals to percolate into the well or insects to invade the well head. Annual testing from an experienced, reputable lab is essential.
  3. Don’t rely on cheap or free water tests from a home improvement store. These tests may only look for hardness and pH or a small handful of contaminants. If agricultural or industrial contamination is occurring anywhere near you, these tests will not provide any helpful information. Also, naturally-occurring metals like arsenic, nickel or lead could be present in your water and harm the health of your family and these tests will not tell you what you need to know.
  4. Don’t try to service your own water well. Find out from other people in your town who the most reliable well inspectors and repair techs are and always trust them with inspections and repairs of your well. It’s worth the investment.
  5. Learn how to disinfect your well the right way, without household bleach. That type of bleach is heavier than water so it tends to find pockets and corners in your plumbing system where it can hide. Therefore, it is difficult to flush it out of your system. ETR Labs offers disinfection kits using an FDA-approved chlorination agent that won’t hide in your system.

Your First Steps with Your New Private Well

The first thing you should do, preferably before moving in and relying on this source of water, is a comprehensive water test. Once you’ve verified that your water is high quality, schedule a less-comprehensive test to be done annually. Pick a holiday or memorable date to help you remember to get the test done.

After that, there are other times you may need to get your water re-tested before it’s due, for example:

  • There’s a change in the taste, odor or appearance of the water
  • The well or system has been repaired or serviced
  • There has been a flood on the property
  • Anyone in the home has an unexplained illness, especially one that persists or has been hard to diagnose
  • A new baby or an immunocompromised person is coming into the household

Also remember to protect your well, keeping mowers and vehicles away from the area. If you are putting in a new well, be sure to locate it well away from any old wells, septic systems, livestock yards, or chemical storage. Position it so rainwater and drainage from roads do not flow toward the well.

The needs of your private well are actually fairly simple if you follow these guidelines. We can help you not only with accurate water testing but also with advice on what type of water filtration system might be needed for the contaminants you find in the water. Call us at (800) 344-9977 for help in choosing the right water test for your situation. We’re dedicated to helping homeowners keep their families and pets healthy and happy with clean, pure water.