Have you moved from the city or purchased a home without a municipal water source?
Learn about water well ownership
If you're considering purchasing or have already purchased a home that has a private water well for the first time, there are some facts that you need to know regarding your water source. First, as a private well owner, you are responsible for the safety of your well and the functioning of your water system. We all learned from Flynt Michigan that there are several advantages to receiving your water from a private well. First, with a little monitoring, you can be guaranteed a clean healthy water source free from contamination. While you are responsible for the quality of your water, you'll also never receive a municipal water bill which in certain areas of the country can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually.
Let's explore some of the facts and factors you'll need to be aware of as the owner of a home with a private water well.
First, Water Well Basics
Whenever you are considering purchasing a home with a water well you should make sure to do your research. Wells can vary in depth, flow rate and water quality, sometimes by large amounts. Before buying, you should ask for a copy of the reported flow rate in writing and an updated water quality report which is available from most municipal water departments. Homeowners may also have current documentation.
Ask about the testing procedures used. In fact, you should require a water quality inspection as part of your purchase and sales agreement. You may have to pay for the testing, but it is relatively inexpensive and can be valuable information to have. If there is a problem with quality, you may want to have it resolved before proceeding.
The EPA and other governmental agencies do not have any jurisdiction over the monitoring, testing or quality of homes with a private well. They do however publish quality standards you should be aware of and recommend at least annual private testing of your water quality.
You may also want to consider inspecting the rest of your water system. Your well should be professionally drilled, properly lined and sealed to prevent contamination, and must have special screens ant the end in wells with loose soil in order to maintain good flow and filter out silt which could clog your well. There is also a well pump installed in or above the well, and underground plumbing to a pressurized storage tank located within the home. Some home water systems may also include water treatment devices that treat the water to improve quality as it enters the house plumbing. Contact Skillings & Sons to schedule an inspection of your water well and all of your water treatment systems.
Water Wells... Beyond The Basics
Once you've purchased your home there are some ongoing facts you'll need to stay ahead of in order to keep your well water safe and clean. Here are some tips for new well owners.
Research Your Area
If you're moving to a new area, it's a great idea to seek out a local water expert for information on any local water problems like contamination. You can also visit the EPA website which stays current on local water problems. You want to stay proactive.
Check Your Local Regulations
States can vary in terms of water policies and regulations for homeowners with private wells. Check with your local water professional or local health department for policies and testing guidelines on privately owned water wells. Some states like Colorado require homeowners to obtain a permit for a private well, other's like New Jersey require a seller to test their well and disclose the results to potential buyers.
Click Here For The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
Click Here For The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Click Here For The Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Find A Local Professional
Find a local professional to work with you. They can perform in- home tests for certain contaminants and can recommend a state-certified lab to perform a full analysis. They will know the local conditions and can advise you on the proper testing for your location.
Make Sure A Professional Checks Your Test Results
Always have your test results checked by your well water professional. They can help you to understand the results and offer solutions if problems arise. This is especially important if you are new to owning a well.
Set Up An Annual Testing Schedule
The EPA recommends annual testing for coliform bacteria, nitrates, PH and total dissolved solids. Every three years add testing for tannins, hardness, chloride, and copper. Speak with Skillings & Sons about any additional testing. If you notice any changes in color, odor or taste, schedule a test immediately.
Know Your Options If A Problem Occurs
If a problem occurs, your local water professional can offer you solutions to treat your water. Water treatment options are available that can treat your water where it enters your home. This is called a point of entry treatment. Single point of use treatment, like filtration at the kitchen faucet, is also available.
At Skillings & Sons we help our New Hampshire, Southern Maine, and Massachusetts customers keep their water wells contamination free, great tasting, and running smoothly. We offer preventative maintenance, well pump repair and replacement services, hydrofracturing to increase water flow, and we sell and install water treatment systems. If you're new to the area or have bought or built a home with a water well for the first time, contact us with questions about your water well. We're always here to help!