Time To Test Your Well

by Jim Palmer Jr – Real Estate Marketplace N.W. Inc.

     Most city folks don’t really think about where their tap water comes from, since they can just walk over to the sink, turn the faucet on, and there seems to be a never ending supply of clean drinking water.  It’s a little more complicated than that for most of us living in a rural setting, yet most rural dwellers don’t really think about it much either!  Now is the time of year when many wells are at risk to contamination from flooding or excess ground water.  This situation could cause discoloration in the water or even contamination from rodent feces when runoff water washes through gopher holes.

In some areas septic systems can become so saturated with high levels of ground water, that effluent is not being treated normally by the soil underneath the drain field, allowing untreated sewage to flow directly into ground water, possibly reaching your well or neighboring wells.  This situation can affect deep drilled wells, not just hand-dug-surface wells

Procrastination concerning this topic could have severe health risks for country dwellers!  In the normal process of testing wells at point of sale, I can attest to the fact that many wells do not meet the minimums standards for safe drinking water and require some treatment because of contamination.   In other words, finding a contaminated well is not an unusual occurrence for rural property brokers.

When is the last time you had your well tested?  In most of the cases mentioned above, the home owners were not noticeably sickened by the water.  They may have been innoculated by the growing levels of bacteria over a period of time instead of receiving a blast of contaminants in a one-time event such as a spring flood.

Testing your well periodically is a sensible thing to do!  Counties vary dramatically in the types of tests required to meet their standards.  For example, Spokane County only requires tests for bacteria and nitrates, while Stevens County requires testing for lead, arsenic, nitrates, coliform (bacteria), and uranium.  There may be occasions when well owners or buyers should request additional testing for elements that may be unique to certain areas such as manganese or high levels of iron.

Don’t just dribble a cup of bleach down your well casing, thinking that is the cure!  That practice can change the PH levels in your water creating even greater problems.  Consult with a professional who is up to speed on the latest technology before beginning any treatment regime.


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