Are you about to buy a new home that’s supplied by a private well? Or did you just move into one? A water test is essential to ensure that your water supply is healthy.
It may seem a bit odd, but the quality of private well water is completely unregulated and unsupervised. It is 100% up to the homeowner to test their own well water and correct it however needed. There’s no local, state or federal agency that regulates these wells.
But My Well Was Just Tested Before the Sale—Wasn’t it?
Yes, some mortgage lenders such as the FHA, VA and some banks require well water testing before approving a loan. The problem is that these tests are minimal. They may only require tests for E. coli bacteria, lead, nitrates, pH and iron. While this is a good start, there are literally hundreds of other contaminants that could affect the health of everyone in the household.
Another problem with these minimal tests is that the level of nitrates usually permitted in these lender-required tests are too high to be healthy. Nitrates in drinking water can affect the thyroid and increase the risk of certain kinds of cancer. If drunk during pregnancy, this water can cause birth defects in the baby such as spina bifida or congenital heart problems. Therefore, you want to make sure that any nitrates are at a low, healthy level.
In addition, the presence of nitrates generally indicates that there is probably some kind of surface water contamination making its way into the well. If this contamination source is not remedied, the contamination and harm will continue.
Other Important Contaminants to Test For
Here’s a sampling of other harmful contaminants that the lender-required tests will miss:
- Microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses and parasites may be getting into well water from insect or animal infiltration. Some of these microorganisms can cause infections or respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses that can be fatal.
- Salt: Too much salt in the water will affect the taste and can also be harmful for a person who needs to control their blood pressure.
- Fungi: The only proper amount of fungi in drinking water is none. Fungi in drinking water can increase the risk of pneumonia or acute or chronic infections and allergies, especially in immunocompromised individuals.
- Arsenic: Arsenic is actually a naturally-occurring metal. But when it’s in a water supply, it can cause diarrhea, changes to the skin and an abnormal heart rhythm.
- Industrial Chemicals: There are hundreds of different toxic chemicals that could seep into your well from nearby manufacturing plants, airports, agricultural activities, military bases or landfills. Exposure to these chemicals can cause damage to kidneys, liver or circulatory, nervous or reproductive nervous systems.
- Heavy Metals: Lead, mercury, cadmium, selenium and many other metals may be found in well water. Household plumbing components may also release some of these metals into the water. Drinking this water increases the risk of cancer, anemia, or liver, kidney, and intestinal damage.
The Drawback of Water from a New Well
Whatever is in your new home’s well water, it may not have affected the prior resident’s health as much as it could affect yours. That’s because people build up a tolerance for the quality of water they habitually drink. When you move into that new home, however, you may not have any tolerance for the bacteria or chemicals present. The effects could be uncomfortable or worse.
The answer is to have a comprehensive test done of your well water by a reputable water testing company. The results will let you know what contaminants need to be filtered out or if repairs are needed on your well.
If possible, complete a thorough water test and any remedial actions needed before beginning to drink the water. Then you can be confident in the healthy quality of your water. Follow this with an annual test to ensure that there are no new sources of contamination.
ETR Laboratories has all the well water testing choices you need for your new home. Call today to get help choosing the best test for your situation. We are also happy to provide you with advice on the proper filtration or water treatment needed to improve the purity of your water. Get the right test, every time. Call (800) 344-9977 to get started.