Water Testing: What You Need to Know Before You Turn on the Tap
Updated: Jul 27
Groundwater is a source of drinking water for many people across North Carolina and South Carolina. But groundwater is susceptible to surface contaminants, and private wells are often the victim of negligence or ignorance on the part of homeowners. With water quality testing, you can protect yourself against potential contamination issues that could put your family’s health at risk. Even if you have access to a public water supply, a personal well provides you with an additional backup source of drinking water in case of emergency. But there are some risks associated with well water. The presence of dangerous bacteria and nitrate contamination is not uncommon in private wells, which is why it is important to understand everything about well water testing before you turn on that tap.
Why Should You Test Your Well Water?
It may seem unnecessary to test well water. But the fact is, any number of things can go wrong between the aquifer and your tap, including: - Contamination from agricultural runoff - This includes nitrates, pesticides, and salts. - Contamination from septic systems - Septic systems may malfunction, causing bacteria to flow into groundwater. - Contamination from livestock - Animals can pollute groundwater with fecal matter. - Fluctuating water levels - If aquifer levels drop, contaminants can migrate into groundwater. - Sudden changes in water quality - If a well is old, sudden changes in water quality should be investigated.
Well water can be contaminated by disease-causing bacteria originating from a variety of sources. Bacterial contaminants include Escherichia coli (E. coli), fecal coliform, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Shigella. E. coli occasionally makes the news because it can be found in the intestines of humans and animals, but it is not inherently dangerous. However, when it enters the groundwater, E. coli can attach to the sides of the well and then easily flow into the water supply.
The most common way for E. coli to enter groundwater is through surface runoff from agricultural fields. E. coli can cause diarrhea, cramps, vomiting and nausea. In severe cases, it can lead to kidney failure and death. Fecal coliform, on the other hand, is usually harmless to humans but can indicate the presence of E. coli and other pathogens. Depending on the concentration of bacteria in your well water, you may see no adverse effects at all, or your family may experience gastrointestinal symptoms.
Nitrates are minerals that are typically found in soil. They are not inherently harmful, but they can become dangerous when they flow into the groundwater. While nitrate contamination is not common in groundwater, it happens often in private wells.
Elevated nitrate levels in well water are associated with certain agricultural practices such as the application of manure, synthetic fertilizer, and legume cover crops. If any of these practices are happening near your property, your well water could contain dangerously high levels of nitrate, which can lead to blue baby syndrome. Blue baby syndrome occurs when infants are given formula made with water containing high levels of nitrate.
Lead In Drinking Water
Lead is a heavy metal that is very toxic to humans when ingested. It can cause damage to the kidneys and nervous system, and has been linked to increased risk of stroke. Lead could enter your well water supply as a result of corrosion in the pipes used to transport water to individual homes. Well water testing can help you determine whether or not this is the case, and take steps toward minimizing the risk of lead contamination.
Testing Levels of Iron In Well Water
Iron is an essential mineral that is important for normal cell function. In the form of iron found in well water, however, it can build up in plumbing systems and cause damage. Iron in well water can stain laundry and may lead to health issues when consumed in high amounts. Iron water testing can help you determine the level of this mineral in your well water and take action to reduce the risk of discoloring your laundry and damaging the inside of your plumbing.
Manganese? Yeah, We Test For That
Manganese is a mineral that has a wide variety of industrial uses, including alloys for plumbing materials. High levels of manganese in drinking water can lead to neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. Well water testing can help you determine whether your drinking water contains high levels of this mineral and take steps to address the issue, if necessary.
Testing The pH Levels
pH is an indicator of whether the water in your well is alkaline or acidic. Water with a high pH level can cause damage to your plumbing, and water with an extremely low pH level can be corrosive. Well water testing can help you determine the pH level in your water and take steps to address any potential problems.
Searching For Well Water Testing Near Me?
Well water is just as safe as municipal water, but you need to test it regularly to make sure it stays that way. The good news is that testing water potability is a simple process that can done by Bannon Home Inspections at an affordable price with a relatively quick turnaround. With well water testing, you can find out whether your well is contaminated. We test your drinking water for:
· Total Coliform
· E. Coli
When you turn on the tap, do you wonder if the water will be safe to drink? Well water testing can help you feel confident that your water is safe. Whether you have access to a public water supply or a personal well, these tests can help you protect you and your family against potential contamination hazards.