What to Do Before Using Your New Well

So you have a new well! Before you rely on this new well for your household water, there are several steps you should take to ensure that the water you get from it is healthy. 

Here’s how you should proceed. 

1. Get a well water test: Order the most comprehensive water test you can find. As long as you don’t have problems with your water, you won’t need to repeat this comprehensive test often. A more limited test done once a year is enough to help you monitor the quality of water. 

This initial test should definitely look for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are industrial chemicals. VOCs can enter ground water from gas stations or dry cleaner leaks, industrial dumping or improper disposal of household products. They can damage the kidneys, liver, nervous or immune system. They also increase the risk of cancer.

2. Determine if you will need water filtration or treatment: Once you have the results, go over them with a knowledgeable person who can advise you on the right kind of filtration you will need for your water.

For example, if your water has high calcium and magnesium and also has a high pH, the pipes in your home may accumulate such heavy mineral deposits that you lose water pressure. That is just one example—there are hundreds of other naturally-occurring minerals or industrial or agricultural chemicals that can be harmful to health if they are found in your water.

3. Flush the well: Let it run for a very long time. After 18 hours, you can take the next step.

4. Disinfect: When you’re ready to start using the water, disinfect it first. Follow all the instructions on the disinfection kit you use to ensure the disinfection agent has cleared your system before you start consuming any of the water. Be sure not to use household bleach for this disinfection process. Household bleach is heavier than water and so can get caught in household plumbing or the well itself. (ETR Laboratories has an FDA-approved chlorination product in its disinfection kit that will not get caught in your plumbing.)

5. Use other water sources for a month: Don’t count on using this water source for 30 days.

6. After 30 days, begin using the water.

New Wells and Unused Wells

This procedure should not only be followed for new wells, it should also be used for any well that is stagnant or has sat unused. The time period required to make water unsafe varies from days and weeks to months. It all depends on the potential contaminants in the water, whether they are bacterial, fungal chemical or mineral. 

Additional Information on New Well Water Tests

If you find VOCs in your water test results, it is possible that these chemicals have entered your water from the water pump itself. They can be left over from the pump manufacturing process. You could see readings for styrene, xylenes or toluene.

A further problem related to VOCs is that they can rise to the top of the well or fall to the bottom. Therefore, they may not always show up immediately on a water test. If your test shows VOCs in your water, you may want to run another test after this procedure is complete to determine if these chemicals still appear in your water. If they do, you would be wise to add an activated charcoal or reverse osmosis filtering system to take these chemicals out of your water. 

For accurate guidance when you have just installed a new well, contact ETR Laboratories. We can help you choose the right water test and disinfection kit. When your test results are in, we’ll help you understand them and make decisions about filtration or water treatment systems to add. Call us at (800) 344-9977 and we’ll help you get started.