Private well owners and water testing


Water test­ing is crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant to under­stand the qual­i­ty and safe­ty of your home’s water sup­ply.  Accord­ing to the EPA, rough­ly 2.3 mil­lion peo­ple in the New Eng­land area get their water from a pri­vate well.  That’s about 20 per­cent of the region’s pop­u­la­tion. Dif­fer­ent areas of the coun­try often have dif­fer­ent water prob­lems and recent stud­ies show that methyl-ter­tiary-butyl ether (MTBE), radon, and arsenic have con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed a num­ber of pri­vate wells in New Eng­land.

The good news?  Through knowl­edge, exten­sive data, and cut­ting edge tech­nol­o­gy, water treat­ment com­pa­nies and cer­ti­fied labs can keep you in the clear when it comes to safe and healthy water. As a home­own­er, there are some things you can do to ensure the best pro­tec­tion of your well once you have water test­ing per­formed.

water testing in massachusetts

Keep up with the latest

If you own a pri­vate well, it’s in your best inter­est to stay cur­rent on recent ground­wa­ter stud­ies and com­mon region­al prob­lems.  At the very least, be aware of con­t­a­m­i­nants found in neigh­bor­ing prop­er­ty. To be on the safe side, the EPA rec­om­mends year­ly water test­ing for col­iform bac­te­ria, nitrates, total dis­solved solids, and pH lev­els or any oth­er poten­tial con­t­a­m­i­nants that you sus­pect your water sup­ply may be sus­cep­ti­ble to.

You can’t be too cautious.

In cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, water test­ing more than once a year may make sense. Don’t hes­i­tate to call a local expert in any of the fol­low­ing sit­u­a­tions:

  1. Some­one in the house­hold is pregnant/nursing
  2. There are unex­plained ill­ness­es
  3. You see a change in water taste, odor, col­or or clar­i­ty
  4. Any part of your well sys­tem is replaced, repaired or tam­pered with
  5. Near­by new con­struc­tion or exca­va­tion that may have impact­ed ground water aquifer flows

Be aware of other problem sources

The EPA has an exten­sive list of com­mon sources of poten­tial ground water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. Water can be com­pro­mised by any­thing from under­ground fuel stor­age tanks to swim­ming pool chem­i­cals to near­by live­stock. Even adja­cent com­mer­cial or indus­tri­al areas with air­ports, laun­dro­mats, gas sta­tions, asphalt plants or met­al­work­ing shops, to name a few, could poten­tial­ly con­t­a­m­i­nate ground water.

This infor­ma­tion is not meant to make you para­noid as your water could be per­fect­ly fine even in high­er-risk areas. Just be informed and be pre­pared. The best way to detect health relat­ed water con­t­a­m­i­nants is by get­ting a prop­er­ly pulled sam­ple to a state cer­ti­fied lab. If you sus­pect any issues with your pri­vate well, need to sched­ule rou­tine annu­al water test­ing, or need help find­ing a cer­ti­fied lab near you that can test your water, call H2O Care at 800–539-1100 or email us at [email protected]

Water testing in Groveland, MA

H2O Care is an established full service water filtration and testing organization, originally formed in 1989, based in Middleton, MA on route 114 (259 South Main St.), with an additional office in Hudson, MA.  See our written and published articles in Water Technology Magazine by going to our website, and going to the publications tab at the top of the home page.  Contact us by email at [email protected] or by calling us at 978–777-8330.

What is salt water intrusion?

Salt water intru­sion occurs in coastal fresh­wa­ter aquifers when the dif­fer­ent fresh­wa­ter and salt water den­si­ties allow the intru­sion of ocean water into the fresh­wa­ter aquifer. These areas typ­i­cal­ly sup­port pop­u­la­tions where the ground­wa­ter demand from these aquifers exceeds the recharge or replen­ish­ment rate of fresh water. This can become more like­ly when the water is being used for in-house use as well as lawn irri­ga­tion. Irri­gat­ing with salty water will destroy grass, trees and plants.

Aquifers are nat­u­ral­ly replen­ished by pre­cip­i­ta­tion and sur­face waters that sat­u­rate into the ground and work their way through the soil, rocks, etc. to the water table. The encroach­ing sea­wa­ter will encounter an area known as the zone of dis­per­sion, where the fresh­wa­ter and salt­wa­ter mix. This inter­face moves back and forth nat­u­ral­ly because of fluc­tu­a­tions in the recharge rate of fresh­wa­ter back into the aquifer.  The illus­tra­tion below gives an illus­tra­tion of what this salt water intru­sion looks like.

graphic 1


There are many homes with pri­vate wells near coastal areas where there is no access to pub­lic water sup­plies, because of dis­tance to the water dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem or oth­er rea­sons.  When the well expe­ri­ences salt water intru­sion, the proven and test­ed tech­nol­o­gy to desali­nate the water is reverse osmo­sis, a mem­brane tech­nol­o­gy that was invent­ed in the 1950s specif­i­cal­ly for sea water desali­na­tion.  A sys­tem designed to treat the water at the point of entry into the home will cor­rect this salt water intru­sion.  In fact, the water in the toi­lets will be of high­er qual­i­ty than what most peo­ple drink out of their taps!

graphic 2