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How Safe is My Household Wells Drinking Water

by Dorian Travers on Jul 8, 2014

If you own a well, you might think that the United States government monitors the quality of your water and the public water supply.

While the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) oversees and regulates the public water system, if you have a well on your property, you alone are responsible for testing and regulating your water.

Over fifteen percent of people in the United States drink water from a well and do not have access to qualified water treatment officials that routinely check their water supplies for pathogens and other harmful particles in their water.

While the EPA states that groundwater that supplies individual wells are typically safe, there have been instances, however, of groundwater contamination in all 50 states in the U.S.

To make sure that your home’s groundwater is safe, use the following precautions to protect and maintain your drinking and well water supplies.

Is your well water really at risk?

The cleanliness of your water depends on when your well was manufactured, where it is housed on your property and how well you keep and maintain your well.

Water quality is similarly affected by the human and animal activities that surround your water supply and the cleanliness of the water’s original water source.

Nevertheless, if you think your private well water is safe, consider this troubling fact:

  • The Center for Disease Control reported in 2000 that private well water that was contaminated caused 26 percent of water outbreaks that caused illness in Americans.

How do you determine if you have any pollutants in the water?

Some pollutants are easily detected in your well water via the senses. You can simply taste, smell or see the pollutants in your water supply. Other microscopic pathogens and chemicals are only revealed by testing your water.

Here are common problem sources that can contaminate you are well water:

  • Septic tank - If you are using well water in your home, you will also own a septic tank or waste removal system. These systems and types of wastewater disposal methods are major sources of pollutants and contamination in household well water. It’s important to have your septic system checked annually to prevent any contamination of your water with toxic chemicals.
  • Chemical threats in your local environment – In fact, your local or county health department can provide information on possible environmental threats to your water supply.

How to Treat You're Well Water

While the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension Program reports that shock chlorination is the most common treatment for sanitizing you're well system, there are also simple well water treatment systems you can use to treat the water after it leaves your well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the four most common treatment systems for your water supply include:

  • Water Softeners – These devices get rid of hard water problems by replacing magnesium and calcium ions with potassium and sodium ions.
  • Distillation – Your water is boiled, and the steam is collected. After undergoing the distillation process heavy inorganic compounds and solid contaminants, like mineral salts, are left behind in a separate container. Distilled water, because it is mineral-free, may not be recommended for drinking.
  • Filtration Systems – These systems work, via a water filter to remove impurities and contaminants from the water. Most water filters use a chemical, biological or physical barrier to remove organic chemicals, pesticides, lead and chlorine byproducts from the water.
  • Disinfection – Contaminants in your water supply are killed using chemical or physical disinfectants. Common chemicals to treat your water include chlorine dioxide and chlorine.

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