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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
Well water test results: how to read & understand you well water test report.
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Have your well water tested for any possible contaminants in your area. Use a state-approved testing lab. (See below for sources of approved laboratories.) Do not be surprised if a lot of substances are found and reported to you.
The amount of risk from a drinking water contaminant depends on the specific substance and the amount in the water. The health of the person also matters.
Some contaminant cause immediate and severe effects. It may take only one bacterium or virus to make a weak person sick.
Another person may not be affected. For very young children, taking in high levels of nitrate over a relatively short period of time can be very dangerous.
Many other contaminants pose a long-term or chronic threat to your health - a little bit consumed regularly over a long time could cause health problems such as trouble having children and other effects.
EPA drinking water rules for public water systems aim to protect people from both short and long term health hazards. The amounts of contaminants allowed are based on protecting people over a lifetime of drinking water. Public water systems are required to test their water regularly before delivery.
They also treat it so that it meets drinking water standards, notify customers if water does not meet standards and provide annual water quality reports.
Compare your well's test results to federal and state drinking water standards. (You can find these standards at www.epa.gov/safewater/mcl.html or call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline 800-426-4791.) In some cases, the laboratory will give a very helpful explanation. But you may have to rely on other experts to aid you in understanding the results.
More details about how to read & interpret a water test result
See this non-EPA document which offers much more detail:
This article on water contaminants 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. [Editing for clarity by DF are marked by brackets or italics] Initial Source: EPA 816-K-02-003 January 2002
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