Posted on: 2 October 2015Share
Your well should supply you with water for many years. However, it isn't something you can just install and forget about. You have to maintain the well properly so the water doesn't become contaminated. This involves having annual inspections and keeping hazardous substances away from the well. Here's a closer look at how to maintain your water system.
When To Have A Well Inspection
It's a good idea to have your well tested annually just to ensure your family has safe drinking water. In addition to that, there are certain signs that indicate you should have your well water and system checked. For one, if your water flow becomes diminished, it could be a sign your well is clogging up. It could also indicate a shift in the water table. You should call your well contractor to diagnose the problem and clean the well if it needs it.
If the quality of your water changes, it could indicate the growth of bacteria or an increase in contaminants due to chemical dumping by a local farm or factory. Your water may be cloudy, appear oily, or pick up a bad odor. The water itself may be contaminated, or the water could be fine, but it's picking up contamination from a dirty well. Either way, you need to have the water tested just to make sure it is safe to drink.
If you haven't been keeping up with yearly water and well testing, a good time to get back on track is when you have a new baby in the home. You don't want to bathe your baby in contaminated water or let your baby drink water that has high levels of chemicals or heavy metals. In addition, if someone in your family has a compromised immune system, you may want to have the water tested for bacteria and parasites. Once you've tested the water and found it to be safe, yearly testing should be adequate as long as the water quality does not change.
Protect Your Well
When your well was initially installed, the contractor chose the best location for it so runoff from farm buildings or work areas wouldn't affect it. Make sure any new construction or animal holding areas are kept away from the well so chemicals and animal waste do not seep down into your water. Inspect the housing on top of your well occasionally to make sure it doesn't develop cracks or gaps that allow mice and bugs to drop in and decompose in the well. Also, if you have land where generations before you have had wells on the property, there may be old wells that are not sealed properly. If you have such a well, you want to call a contractor to seal it. Rain and contaminated surface water will fall directly into the well and mingle with your drinking water and affect its quality.
When the contractor checks your well, he or she will test the water for bacterial contamination as well as the presence of chemicals. The exact testing done is determined by what is present in your local environment. If your property is surrounded by big farms, the potential contaminants are different than those you would expect if you live near an industrial operation. Your water will also be tested for mineral composition. Minerals affect the water's taste, and they can also affect your plumbing by leaving stains and scale buildup. A high concentration of minerals could indicate the need for a water filter or water softener to protect your appliances and plumbing.
In addition, the contractor examines the well itself to make sure it is still clean and structurally sound. The pump and electrical system are checked and serviced. The level of ground water is also noted. Having annual inspections allows you to keep records so you can compare your water quality and level from year to year. This lets you know if contamination is increasing or water levels are diminishing. This helps you judge when it's getting time to drill a new well.