Properly constructed wells and private water supply systems do not need an excessive amount of maintenance, but the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) recommends that you schedule a well water check-up annually. This can help ensure the safety of your water and help to monitor for contaminants.
But what do you do if something just isn’t right with your water?
Short answer: Stop drinking it immediately and call a professional to conduct a well test.
Slightly longer answer: Your well can be contaminated with natural chemicals and minerals, such as arsenic (yikes!), copper, or radon. It could also contain pesticides, herbicides, and other dangerous chemicals, or be absorbing substances from your septic. Testing can help identify these issues and provide solutions, such as installing a filtration system, water softener, or a distillation system, or treating your water with disinfectant.
Not all well issues indicate contaminated water. Any water changes could be the result of a dirty well, which may require a cleaning by a professional technician. While we recommend you consult a professional, your local health department official, or even the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791), you can also find water quality test kits online or at your local home improvement store. These can you give results in a matter of minutes.
When should you have your well water tested?
Well water testing should be conducted:
- At least once annually.
- If there are known issues in your area, such as increased gastrointestinal illness, especially among family members.
- After you replace or repair a part of your well.
- Any change in your water’s smell, odor, or taste.
- If you have low water flow or cloudy water.