I have lived on an acreage for most of my adult life and have experienced different styles of wells and well water. I have even had to treat dugout water for household use because the well was a low producer. In any case I want to take a few minutes and explain a few different things you can do to make sure your water is safe regardless of its source.
POTABILITY TEST – FOR E.COLI, COLLIFORMS AND NITRATES:
The first line of defense is to take a potability test of the water. This test is not difficult to obtain but it must be done according to the instructions on the bottle provided by the testing lab. First you go to your health department and ask for the sample bottle. Next you take the sample and send it back to the lab. Once again I am not going to go into the procedure for taking the sample as this blog is going to be long enough without getting into specifics. If you want clarification go to This SITE. The potability test is to check to see if there is E.Coli or Coliforms and sometimes nitrates E.Coli and Coliforms are living organisms and the lab needs to have the sample within 24 hours to be able to properly report on their presence. E.Coli and coliforms can make a person sick. If they are present in the water the lab will report that the water is unacceptable for human consumption. So if you get a negative result you will need to shock your well, a topic I will address in another blog soon. Nitrates are considered unsafe for infants under 6 months of age if the levels in the water sample exceeds 45mg/l.
CHEMICAL ANALYSIS –
Water born illnesses are not just biological in nature. It is true that the above mentioned organisms will make a person sick quite quickly it is also possible to become sick from long term exposure to these organisms and certain chemicals such as Alkalinity; Aluminum; Arsenic; Barium; Boron;Cadmium; Chloride; Chromium; Copper; Fluoride; Hardness; Iron; Lead;Manganese; Nitrate; Selenium; Sodium; Sulphate; Total Dissolved Solids;Trihalomethanes; Uranium; Zinc; and pH. Once again these chemicals and organics can be naturally occurring or introduced to the water and may need to be filtered out if possible before you drink it if the levels are above the recommended safe levels as indicated by health department for your area. The list above was taken from the Saskatchewan water site – www.SaskH2O.ca
WATER QUALITY – FIND OUT IF YOUR WATER CAN BE FILTERED AND HOW.
The most common problem with well water that I have experienced is HARDNESS and IRON, although there are other issues that come up from time to time such as TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (TDS) and contamination from ground water sources. In any of the above cases it is possible to buy a filter system that will cause the contaminant to become insoluble in water by using minerals such as salt. This new product is then back washed into the drain while the filtered water is ready to be used in the home.
Just a quick note to say that we will take the samples for you for a fee and send them to the lab with the proper paperwork. We also provide a free onsite analysis of total hardnes and iron in the water as part of every acreage inspection.