August is National Water Quality Month which means it’s time to splash into all the details of water safety at home. Did you know that almost 97% of the world’s water is undrinkable (EPA)? That makes the water we use every day extra special. If your property has a private well, your dedication to healthy, drinkable water is even more important. Having a private well means you have the responsibility to make sure your water is safe to use for you and your family! Curious about how to get started? Check out these tips for preventing contamination at home:
1. Location is Key
Whether you are digging a new well or maintaining an existing one, it’s important to pay attention to its surroundings. Common sources of contamination are septic tanks, livestock yards, silos, petroleum tanks, or manure stacks, among other things (EPA). Make sure the things around your private well do not present a risk to your health.
2. Know What Kind of Well You Have
Did you know that there are three different types of private wells? Knowing what kind of well you have will help you understand what level of risk you are at for contamination. Dug wells are at the highest risk for contamination as they are only 10-30 feet deep. Driven wells are approximately 30-50 feet deep and are still moderately to highly at risk for contamination. Lastly, drilled wells are often 100-400 feet deep. They have the lowest risk of contamination, but even with a 400 foot well, it’s still important to check it regularly for common health threats (EPA).
3. Test for Common Contaminants
Take advantage of your local health department’s simple and effective methods to test the quality of your water. Some of them will test for coliform bacteria, fluoride, iron, hardness, manganese, sulfates, and arsenic (Siouxland District Health). Testing your water for common contaminants is your best defense against health concerns caused by poor water quality.
4. Upkeep your Private Well
After initial testing, your well should be tested again on an annual basis. However, there are times when you should check the levels of your well more often. Unexplained illnesses, a spill of chemicals near your well, or a change to the taste, color, or odor of your water are all reasons to look into the condition of the water in your home (EPA).
When it comes to the quality of your water, proper planning and management of your private well is the best way to ensure the safety of the water you use every day. From finding the perfect location to doing regular testing, it’s up to you to make sure your water is healthy to drink and use in your everyday life. For more answers to all your home inspection questions call Sherlock Home Inspectors at (712) 274-9617 or get in touch through our website!