Private Well Owners and Water Testing

THE IMPORTANCE OF WATER TESTING YOUR PRIVATE WELL

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 test in massachusetts

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.

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THE SOLUTION

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!

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