It is essential for well owners to understand well water testing basics. For many well owners, one of the benefits of a well is saving money because there are no municipal fees. Unlike municipal water, however, no government agency oversees the quality of the water of a private well.  That is why is important for any private well owner to regularly get their water tested. Read on to learn all about private well water testing basics

What Does Water Testing Do?

More often than not, the change in water quality happens gradually over time.  By the time you can recognize the change through smell, taste, or color, the water quality might be so bad that it might no longer be possible to rectify the problem and continue using the water for future use.  That is why is important to have your water tested regularly.  Regular testing will allow a private well owner to

  • Identify potential problems by catching slight changes. Additionally, it helps identify the source of the change. Identifying an issue allows your well experts to implement a solution before a greater problem arises.
  • Allows for the continued use of water at a suitable quality for human consumption
  • Keep a historical record of changes in the water thus allowing you approximate when the water quality became poorer and pinpoint the cause of the problem
  • Determine whether the current system used to treat your water is still effective or a change needs to be made. For example, adding a chlorine compound to assist with the filtration process.

Is My Water Safe?

The only way to ensure your private well water is one hundred percent safe is through testing by a certified technician.  Many viruses, bacteria, and parasites live in water that is completely invisible to the human eye and can only be identified through proper testing.  Additionally, certain metals and chemicals can leak into the water supply that is harmful to humans but take years to develop and thus determine the cause.

What Are Common Well Water Tests?

The local or state health department usually have recommended tests for private well owners.  The following are the most common tests that verify water quality.

  • A basic water quality test checks for microorganisms, metals, chemicals, and water hardness.
  • The microorganism water test tests for any bacteria, viruses, or parasites that are harmful to human health.
  • A nitrate test is done to check the level of nitrates in the water. A high amount of nitrate in the body can interfere with the ability of blood cells to carry oxygen to the body and carbon out of the body.
  • An ion test is done to determine the level of certain natural metal that can cause the water to have a foul taste or odor.
  • A sulfate test is done to check the levels of sulfate. Sulfate can lead to intestinal problems in humans.
  • A fluoride test will check to make sure that the fluoride in the water is at a helpful level. Despite being regularly used in dental care, too much fluoride can cause dental problems.
  • A dissolved solid test make sure that natural solids found in groundwater sources are breaking down properly. Otherwise, these solids can lead to a blockage in the piping infrastructure and damage the well system.

How Often Should I Test My Water?

Private well water testing should occur minimally once a year.  Experts recommend, however, that well owners test their well twice a year, especially in areas where there are significant changes in the weather.  For example, if you live in an area where it snows in the winter and is very hot in the summer, the temperature changes can have an impact on the quality of your water.