Is water quality important?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 13 million homes in the U.S. rely on wells for drinking water. If your buyer clients want to buy a property that relies on a well, encourage them to get the well inspected by a licensed professional. In fact, it may very well be a requirement, depending on the type of financing your buyers are interested in obtaining.
A well inspector will look at:
- The condition of the well
- The quality of the drinking water
- Whether there are any unused wells on the property
To learn more from the EPA, take a look at the optional resource.
Well Water Testing
Contaminated drinking water can have both long- and short-term health effects. Per the EPA, the most common contaminant groups are:
- Microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites
- Nitrate and nitrite (present in chemical fertilizers, human sewage, and animal waste)
- Heavy metals (from household plumbing and service lines, manufacturing, and natural mineral deposits); these include arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, selenium, and others.
- Organic chemicals, found in ink, dye, pesticides, paints, pharmaceuticals, solvents, petroleum products, and sealing and cleaning products
- Radionuclides, radioactive forms of elements such as uranium and radium
To learn even more about well testing, take a look at the optional resource.
Source: EPA Potential Well Water Contaminants and Their Impacts
When Retesting May Be Required
Well water should be retested if the homeowners notice any of the following:
- There are known problems with ground water or drinking water
- Conditions near the well have changed significantly (i.e. flooding, land disturbances, and new construction or industrial activity)
- Any part of the well system is replaced or repaired
- There’s a high concentration of radon in the home
- There’s a noticeable change in water quality (i.e. odor, color, taste)
To learn more about testing, see the optional resource.
Professional Testing vs. Home Kits
Do-it-yourself test kits might be the standard go-to for non-life-threatening situations, such as swimming pool maintenance. For in-depth testing, though, it’s best to turn to the pros at a state-certified lab. Note that some county water departments may test water for free, but the tests are typically limited to bacteria. The EPA recommends the use of certified labs to test drinking water.
To learn more about certified testing, review the optional resource.
If a problem is found, various treatment options are available. The best course of action depends on the issue. For instance, if tests show a high level of bacteria in a well, disinfecting with chlorine, ozone, ultraviolet, or electronic radiation may be an option. Per the EPA:
On-site treatment processes like disinfection, distillation, and filtration may remove the contaminants found in your well water. However, depending on the contaminant, its concentration, and the condition of the well, you may need a new source of water or to drill a new well.