Well Water Testing 101

According to USGS.com, roughly 15% of the U.S. population obtains potable water from private water wells. This is often the preferred route when a house or building doesn’t have access to city or municipal water. As a reputable water well pump manufacturer, A.Y. McDonald experts understand what goes into providing potable water for a structure and the importance behind maintaining a clean source. However, it’s up to the homeowner to follow the proper procedures for testing the water in their own well.

Private well owners are responsible for the safety of their own water, meaning that both the tap and the source should be tested in addition to the inspection of the well itself. Water testing is necessary as it helps identify existing problems, ensures water is suitable for the intended use, tracks changes over time, and determines the effectiveness of a treatment system. In addition, shallow wells and surface water sources should be tested more frequently as they are more susceptible to contamination. The water testing should occur by the local or state health and human services departments as they have access to a certified laboratory.

What exactly is being tested with the well water? For the most part, bacteria, certain minerals, and basic water potability are the elements that the tester is looking for. In extreme circumstances, the presence of such elements could either effect a human’s health or the taste of the water itself. Click here to learn what contaminants could be present in the water when certain conditions or nearby activities are performed.

While the condition of the well should be inspected once every ten years, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) recommends well owners to have the quality of the well water tested once a year. However, more frequent testing may be necessary under the following conditions:

  • There is a change in the taste, odor, or appearance of the well water or if a problem occurs such as a broken well cap, inundation by floodwaters, or a new contamination source
  • The well has a history of bacterial contamination
  • The septic system has recently malfunctioned
  • Family members or house guests have recurrent incidents of gastrointestinal illness
  • An infant is living in the home
  • To monitor the efficiency and performance of home water treatment equipment

There is no question that water is the most important resource that keeps us alive. Therefore, for the 13 million U.S. households currently relying on private wells for drinking water, maintaining a clean source should be top priority. And with the right resources at hand, there is no reason to consume contaminated water. Utilize the information found in this document to determine if your treatment system is performing correctly and if the quality of your source water has changed. Click here for even more information on the topic or reach out to your local government. If you find that you need a new well drilled, make sure to utilize the precision of A.Y. McDonald’s pumps to aid in the journey of bringing water from the well all the way to the faucet!