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WATER PUMPS, TANKS, TESTS, WELLS, REPAIRS
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER CONTAMINANT LEVELS
WATER FILTERS, HOME USE
WATER HAMMER NOISE DIAGNOSE & CURE
WATER ODORS, CAUSE CURE
WATER PUMP REPAIR GUIDE
WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER TANK REPAIR PROCEDURES
WATER TANK: USES, TROUBLESHOOTING
WATER TESTS, CONTAMINANTS, TREATMENT
WATER TREATMENT EQUIPMENT CHOICES
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WELL CHLORINATION & DISINFECTION
WELL FLOW RATE
WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS
WELL YIELD IMPROVEMENT
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Reasons to check on the sanitation of your drinking water well: this article describes & expands on US EPA advice on why homeowners need to worry about well water contamination. Our page top photo shows a cistern-type open well in a home basement.
It is just about impossible for this example-source of drinking water to be consistently sanitary, and the little sediment filter installed will, by itself, not assure that the water is safe to drink.
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This well water contamination article describes types of activities in your area that can create threats to your water supply. It also describes problems to look for and offers maintenance suggestions. Sources for more information and help are also listed.
Our photo (left) illustrates chemical drums we found at a property served by a private well. A bit of research was needed to narrow the range of chemical contaminants for which the property water well should be tested.
Note: InspectApedia editors & contributors have edited an original US EPA article for clarity, content, & depth. Throughout this updated version we also include links to additional detail. For example where the original article cited the role of distance of a well from sources of pollutants, we include a link to our table of WELL CLEARANCE DISTANCES to provide the actual distances involved. Contact Us if you cannot find information you want or to suggest changes, corrections or additions to this material.
You should be aware because the Safe Drinking Water Act does not protect private wells. EPA's rules only apply to "public drinking water systems" - government or privately run companies supplying water to 25 people or 15 service connections. While most states regulate private household wells, most have limited rules. Individual well owners have primary responsibility for the safety of the water drawn from their wells.
They do not benefit from the government's health protections for water systems serving many families. These must comply with federal and state regulations for frequent analysis, testing, and reporting of results.
Instead, household well owners should rely on help from local health departments. They may help you with yearly testing for bacteria and nitrates.
They may also oversee the placement and construction of new wells to meet state and local regulations. Most have rules about locating drinking water wells near septic tanks, drain fields, and livestock. But remember, the final responsibility for constructing your well correctly, protecting it from pollution, and maintaining it falls on you, the well owner.
Buying a home with a private water well: take a look at
The risk of having problems depends on how good your well is - how well it was built and located, and how well you maintain it. It also depends on your local environment. That includes the quality of the aquifer from which you draw your water and the human activities going on in your area that can affect your well water.
Our photo at left shows a failed septic tank. Depending on the distance from septic tank or drainfield to the water well, onsite wastewater disposal systems such as this home-made version can be a troublesome source of local well water contamiantion.
Some questions to consider in protecting your drinking water and maintaining your well are:
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