Many homes in Florida are supplied by private well water for use in drinking and domestic purposes. A dug and bored well contains groundwater seeped through rains; however, along with it there are chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria, and other contaminants that get mixed through different sources. Hence, periodic well water testing is essential to check its usability. This is because minerals, bacteria, and chemicals present in groundwater in excess quantities make the water hard and unfit for drinking and domestic use. Now you may ask, when should a well water test be performed?
- When buying a new home.
- If your lender requires it.
- When drilling a new well.
The environmental protection agency (EPA) suggests yearly well water testing for a total percentage of coliform bacteria, nitrate, pH level, heavy metals such as iron, zinc, and total dissolved solids. Here why:
- Total Coliforms: Coliform bacteria are organisms associated with the intestines of warm-blooded animals, on plants, in soils, and in well water too. These microbes are generally safe and are a part of the normal flora in the intestines. However, their presence in the drinking water indicates that pathogens or disease-causing organisms could be in the water. Also, coliforms such as E. coli cannot be present in excess quantities, else they may cause diarrhea or related symptoms. It is possible to test the total coliforms present in the water. If the count is high, then there could be other harmful germs, contaminants, parasites, and viruses present in the water.
- Fecal Coliforms: As the name implies, these microbes are a sub-group of the coliform species. They appear in excess quantities in the feces and digestive systems of humans and animals. Fecal coliforms are usually harmless. However, their presence in drinking water indicates contamination, which can cause diarrhea, hepatitis, dysentery, and so on.
- Nitrate: Ground water contains several chemical compounds, and nitrate is one of them. In the form of nitrogen oxoanion, it is found in many foods. However, consuming high-level nitrate water can affect how blood carries oxygen, and can cause methemoglobinemia. Nitrate originates from wastewater, fertilizers, private septic systems, animal waste, flooded sewers, and so on. Therefore, EPA suggests a nitrate test for all wells. The EPA standard for nitrate in drinking water is 10 milligrams per liter. Drinking water with nitrate levels at or below 10mg/L is considered safe for drinking.
- pH Level: pH level indicates how acidic or basic the drinking water is. The pH level of water varies across the globe depending on human activity, weather patterns, natural processes, and more. Drinking water with a low pH level can be a sign of heavy metal pollution, which will damage pipes, meters, and other supporting equipment and can eventually make you sick. Ideally, water should be from neutral to slightly alkaline.
You should know if your well water is suitable for drinking. A water potability test will check for the presence of bacteria, such as E.coli and coliform, lead, nitrate, nitrite and turbidity.
DSHI offers a complete Well Water Analysis and report. Click here for pricing.