What's Involved With Owning a Well?
Home Maintenance and Your Well
It would have been normal to send Jack and Jill over the hill to fetch a pail of water in the early morning hours of 1850, but things are much different today! Can you imagine life without modern-day plumbing or homes without even a single bathroom? Back in the 1800s, your family’s home would have been built a lot different than the one you live in today!
Lucky for us, modern-day homes are equipped with wells with pumps to bring it into the house or are piped into a municipal water supply making it easy to get clean water. It’s so easy that you probably have never even wondered about how your where your water comes from. Those that live in the country with well water are responsible for ensuring that both their well and the water coming from it stay in excellent condition, which can leave many wondering how to maintain that quality if you have never needed to worry about it before.
Modern Water Supplies
Not many of us today can imagine what it was like to have to not have a bathroom or no running water! If you have always lived in the city, you might have questions about your new water supply. Or maybe your current home has a we
ll but you haven’t put too much thought into it since the water seems fine. Either way, your water and the integrity of your well are something you should keep in mind. Is the water being impacted by the farm behind my house or my neighbors’ pesticides? What should I look for if something goes wrong? What kind of maintenance should I be doing?
If your water comes from a well, it is coming from groundwater that is stored in a layer of rock called aquifers. The well was drilled down into the rock to access this underground water source. Pipes and a casing are installed and sealed to prevent contamination. Then a well pump forces the water to travel through the casing and the whole system is capped off above ground somewhere in your yard, usually near the home. The water then enters your home from a pipe connected between the casing and a pressure tank and sent to your home for use.
Some people are under the impression that well water is clean and filtered from the earth. But water is a natural solvent, so as it moves through the environment it will slightly erode surfaces and pick up whatever it touches . This could be a wide variety of things like calcium from the bedrock, iron, sediment, hydrogen sulfide gas, and other elements found in the environment. While many of these contaminants will bring nothing more than an inconvenience, there are other events that raise more concern. Arsenic is another contaminant found naturally but also has been linked to negative health effects. As a well owner you are responsible for making sure your water is safe for consumption. Besides environmental factors, there are many other things that can make your water unsafe and are constantly changing, so it is important to have annual testing performed.
How Does My Water Become Unsafe?
Contamination is much more likely to occur in a well than in city water. Groundwater and surface water are part of the hydrological cycle, so it is exposed to contamination from runoff or be impacted by environmental factors.
Nitrates are another environmental issue that is known to be harmful to health, especially to infants, that may find their way into your water source. Nitrates in your water commonly come from runoff from high fertilizer usage. Nearby farms or golf courses that need to apply fertilizers to encourage growth may be compromising your water supply.
Similarly, other local businesses and manufacturing facilities can have an impact on your water. One of the latest emerging contaminants that is being identified as harmful to your health if consumed is PFAS chemicals. These chemicals are typically utilized in industrial processes and depending on how they dispose of any residual or scrap materials, these chemicals may end up seeping into the groundwater.
Having your well water tested annually by a licensed professional is recommended since most harmful contaminants cannot be seen or tasted. These tests are necessary to identify if there is a problem in your area. If you do have concerns about arsenic, nitrates, or PFAS contamination in your water, it is important to utilize a filter that is certified for the removal of that specific element to ensure the product is removing enough to make the water to the levels that are safe for consumption.
How You Can Help Prevent Contamination
Even if your water is not accumulating any harmful contaminants from the environment, there are some other things to consider to make sure your water stays that way. Cracks in your wall casing or a well cover that isn’t secured properly will leave your well exposed to elements that can cause bacteria, such as E. coli, to grow inside your well so it's important to occasionally check the condition of your well. It usually starts when insects or rodents find their way through these cracks looking for shelter. If these animals can’t find their way out, they will often die and decompose inside your well causing the source for bacteria. Ingesting E. coli bacteria isn’t necessarily unsafe, but it can give you diarrhea and a stomachache. Testing your water is the only way to know if bacteria is present. If your test results come back positive, a local water expert can treat the well using shock-chlorination, but they will also need to inspect the well itself to ensure there is not a structural issue that will make it become contaminated again.
Home Maintenance Around Your Well
Maintenance is part of homeownership no matter where you live. But if your water supply comes from a well, it is important to take the proper precautions and perform routine maintenance on your well.
When fertilizing and spraying pesticides keep them a safe distance from your well, and occasionally check the well cover cap to make sure it is in good and free from debris. It is also important to ensure that the ground around your well is sloped away from the well to allow proper drainage. Make sure you keep all records such as construction reports, annual well maintenance, and testing reports in a safe place.
There are a variety of Evolve certified filtration products to keep your water safe from the potentially harmful contaminants that can be introduced to your well. A reverse osmosis system can reduce nitrates and arsenic contaminants in your drinking water taken from the tap. Our ONE Contaminant Reduction filter is certified to reduce PFAS chemical throughout your entire home.
A well system allows water to flow from the ground to your home, but it doesn’t purify or clean the water. With regular testing, you can make sure that you are aware of what may be hidden in your water and what you can do to take care of it. Contact your local Evolve Dealer today to find out more!