A private well can be extremely beneficial for irrigating your property, watering livestock, and using in the household as well. However, well water isn’t subject to the testing that other culinary water supplies are, so it’s important to make sure your water is safe from contamination to ensure your family’s health. Well water testing can identify the levels of contaminants in your water and help you determine if further measures are necessary for making your drinking water safe. Here’s what you need to know.
A major reason to have your well water tested is that there could be harmful bacteria in the water supply. It’s inevitable that some bacteria and other microorganisms will live in the water, but most of these are at very small levels and are usually harmless bacteria. However, there are more harmful microorganisms like E.Coli and Legionella Pneumophilia that can make people very ill. These enter the water from the feces of infected animals. Your well is more likely to be subject to these pathogens if it’s shallow or rainwater seeps into the water supply and contaminates water from the aquifer. These microorganisms can cause minor or major gastrointestinal illness. They can cause severe illness in the young, elderly, and immunocompromised, so bacterial water testing is essential for protecting these groups.
Chemicals also frequently enter the water supply, especially if your well is located near farmland. Fertilizers and pesticides can cause phosphates and nitrates to seep into the groundwater. These contaminants are dangerous for infants, the elderly, and nursing and pregnant women. Chemicals and nitrates are of concern because they can cause serious health problems like kidney failure and cancer.
Metals and Trace Elements
Radon is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless radioactive gas that’s naturally found in soil and rocks. In low levels, radon is usually harmless, but it can begin to build up in your home if you have high levels of it in your water. Using your water daily for showering, washing dishes, and other regular tasks release radon into the air. Prolonged exposure to radon can eventually cause illness and may lead to lung cancer. Other common heavy metals found in water include arsenic, lead, iron, and boron. All of these elements in high levels can be extremely dangerous, so it’s critical to know how much of these metals and trace elements are in your water.
Well water often contains high levels of minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and iron. These minerals aren’t dangerous, and some level is beneficial for your health. However, high levels of these minerals cause hard water. Hard water makes many people uncomfortable because it causes itchy skin and dry, brittle hair. In addition to physical discomforts, hard water minerals cause a scale to build up on and in plumbing fixtures and water-using appliances. This shortens their lifespan and increases your water use.
Determining a Course of Action
In addition to knowing whether or not your water is safe from common contaminants, drinking water testing can help you determine if a course of action is needed for remediation and what that course should be. Filters can remove dangerous contaminants and ensure the water your family drinks is safe. If your water is safe, but you find the mineral content is high, you can install a water softener to help avoid problems down the road from hard water scale. Contact Environmental Testing and Research Laboratories Inc. today to learn what’s in your well water.