WELL WATER VS. CITY WATER
If you’re unsure what kind of water (well water or “city” water) you have in your home, ask yourself these questions:
IS YOUR ADDRESS WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS?
If you reside within a city, chances are your water comes from the local water department. If you live in a rural area, your water may come from a well.
DO YOU PAY A WATER BILL?
When your water comes from the local water department, you’ll regularly pay a water bill, perhaps once a month, to that organization. Homeowners that utilize private wells do not have a water bill. Instead, they pay out of pocket for the maintenance, testing, and upkeep of their private well.
CAN YOU SPOT A WELL PUMP IN YOUR YARD, OR IS THERE A PRESSURE TANK NEAR OR IN YOUR HOME?
These are clear indicators that you are utilizing well water, as you must periodically pump the water. The pressure tank helps optimize water flow and is a crucial component of a well water system.
FACTS ABOUT WELL WATER
All private wells use groundwater, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As described by the Encyclopedia Britannica, most groundwater starts as rain: when rain hits the ground, it moves through the pores between the dirt and the rock.
Water that isn’t absorbed by plants continues downward until it hits a layer of dense rock and becomes trapped. Water accumulates here and is known as groundwater. Another term associated with this kind of water is “aquifer,” as in “groundwater aquifer.”
Many natural occurrences can affect the water quality of water found in a well. Many private well owners choose wells because they can monitor their water quality firsthand, but it’s important to know what to monitor.
These sources can affect the quality of private well water, according to the CDC:
- Failed Septic Tanks
When flooding occurs, the water that gets into your well can potentially contain contaminants. If a well’s walls or sanitary seals have deteriorated or come loose, checking the water quality would be appropriate.
The EPA has a list of potential well water contaminants and their impacts. Any private well owner concerned about the quality of their drinking water should test their water supply.
HOW TO TEST WELL WATER
To test your well water for contaminants, you’ll need a proper well water testing kit. Some well water testing also examines the hardness of the water and checks for manganese, sulfides, and other contaminants.
To obtain a test, simply order the 16-Point Rapid Water Test, which identifies the most common contaminants present in private water sources and is a good starting point for homeowners.
Once a kit arrives at your home, just follow the instructions provided to obtain a water sample from your well. Return your sample to the appropriate lab listed in the instructions and use the complimentary shipping. You’ll typically receive the results of your water test within three to five business days.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU TEST WELL WATER?
According to the Groundwater Foundation, private well owners should test their wells at least once a year. Based on your area’s conditions, you may choose to test more often for peace of mind.
If any component of your well water system seems to have aged or become damaged, it’s wise to test your well water as soon as possible. Use your best judgment, and familiarize yourself with the parts of your well water system to assess each component periodically.
The following situations call for immediate testing of your well water if:
- The taste, odour, or appearance of your water changes
- The septic system has malfunctioned recently
- A flood occurs, or if the well cap ruptures
- Anyone in the home experiences unexplained recurrent gastrointestinal distress
In addition, if you have detected bacteria in your well before, we recommend testing more frequently than once a year. With well water, it’s always better to be on the safe side.
(content courtesy of Pentair)