Well Water Troubles? How to Detect the Real Cause

When your home’s water supply comes from your own well, being able to maintain high water quality becomes an essential task. After all, the health of your family and pets depends on it. Not only that, but the longevity and good working order of some of your appliances also depend on good-quality water. 

Keeping your well healthy and your water quality good can be a tricky task, however. It’s not always easy to determine the cause of a problem that crops up. It can take a few different water tests and some sharp analysis to nail down the exact cause of poor water quality. 

Your First Sign of a Problem

The first thing you might notice is a bad taste or smell to your water. It might smell moldy or metallic or maybe it is cloudy or a little discolored. Or perhaps you see that your plumbing is being stained or developing a mineral buildup. It’s also possible that you might start having problems with a water heater or dishwasher. 

If there is illness in the home, you might not think of your water quality right off the bat. But it’s a good thing to check if someone suffers from allergies or a gastrointestinal problem, especially if it manifests as vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea, or if problems are repeated. 

How to Start Your Detective Work

It can take a little detective work to determine the right source of the problem.  There can be any one of a number of causes (or even more than one). 

  1. The cause of the problem could originate in a problem in the physical structure of your well. Insects or surface contaminants may make their way into your well water because it is not fully sealed. 
  2. You could also be getting agricultural or industrial chemicals seeping through soil or even traveling via the aquifer. 
  3. It might be necessary to change the kind of filtration system positioned between the well and your home. Or perhaps your filtration system is malfunctioning and needs to be repaired or replaced. 
  4. The well itself may need to be repaired.

Identifying the solution starts with identifying the exact contaminants. To start the investigation off right, purchase the most comprehensive well water test you can afford. Collect your sample and send it off to the lab. 

Solving the problem might require more work than just scanning the results of the test when you get them back. It might be necessary to make a change to the well and then re-test, or get an expert consultation on what the results of your comprehensive test mean. 

Zeroing in on the Right Solution

A person who is experienced in testing well water can give you the best interpretation of your results. That person will know what different results mean in terms of repair, filtration or secondary tests that might be needed. 

For example, suppose your water tests high for bacteria. The first step is to check the well cap and the whole above-ground structure to make sure it is undamaged. If small animals or insects are invading your well, the bacteria count will be high. 

Or suppose there are no bacteria. It might be time to do a water test specifically to look for fungi. When well water contains fungi, that fungi tend to kill bacteria (think about how penicillin, which comes from a mold, kills bacteria in the body). When the bacteria count is zero, that’s a tipoff that a fungi test should follow. Well water with fungi can cause allergic symptoms or even systemic infections in the immunocompromised. 

Any illnesses suffered by those consuming the water can be another clue used in this detective process. Gastrointestinal upsets are likely to result from different contaminants than allergy symptoms like skin irritation or asthma. So the exact illness helps guide the investigation. 

Helping Our Clients Resolve the Problem and Restore Healthy Water

At ETR Laboratories, we take the time to follow up with our customers to help them restore their water to a clean, pure and healthy state. After you get the results of your test, talk to us. Let us assist you through this process with advice about filtration, repairs or secondary tests that might be needed. There’s no additional charge for this interpretation. We are glad to help. To get your own comprehensive water test started, visit our Water Tests page or call us at (978) 840 2941.