If you and your family are one of the 15 million American homes that use private wells to supply your drinking water, you know how crucial it is to get annual water testing to make sure that the water you cook with, bathe in, and drink is as clean and safe as possible. From hydrogen sulfide to radon and iron, there are a lot of things that can get in our water and render it unsafe. Here’s how to keep your family protected.
What’s In My Water?
There are some common well contaminants that you should be aware of and on the lookout for.
These can include sodium, magnesium, and calcium. While these do not typically have a negative effect on human health, they do make water hard. Hard water does not clean efficiently and can destroy household appliances like dishwashers, washing machines, and boilers.
When wells are located near farmland, chemicals and nitrates become a serious risk. Fertilizers and pesticides used on farms can go into the groundwater and contaminate wells. These chemicals have been implicated in a number of health issues, especially for the elderly, frail, and very young.
Bacteria, viruses, and pathogens of various sorts have been known to contaminate well water. These may come from feces, particularly of animals living nearby, or from other methods of contamination. These pathogens can sicken humans and may even cause death from intestinal illness.
Hydrogen sulfide, otherwise known as sulphur, gives off a distinctive smell of rotten eggs. This is a naturally occurring gas that is especially common in areas with a lot of shale and sandstone. Although hydrogen sulfide is flammable and even poisonous when it occurs in high concentrations, it is very unusual for household well levels to be dangerous. The primary issue with hydrogen sulfide is the unpleasant smell and its ability to corrode metal pipes so that heavy metals leach into the water supply.
How Do I Keep My Water Safe?
Whether you use private wells or municipal wells, safe wells start with good drilling practices and construction methods. It is important to be aware of water concerns in the area before you dig and to guard against them.
The right kind of well is deep and uses pipes of metal or plastic. It should be placed in an area away from known contamination sources and where testing can be done regularly.
For existing wells, regular testing should be done at least once a year. You should test both at the source and at the tap. Shallow wells should be tested more often, and always use professional water testing companies that know what to look for and how to advise you if they detect a problem.
If testing reveals an issue, or even if it doesn’t, you may want to consider installing a treatment system that will protect you from pathogens, hydrogen sulfide, heavy metals and chemicals while simultaneously softening your water to extend the life of your appliances. There are different water treatments available, from filter systems to reverse osmosis, and your well water company can tell you more about which system might be best for your home and well.
There is nothing more crucial our life and health than clean water. Make sure that you and your family are safe by regularly checking your well water and getting the right filtration system to protect you.