Certified Home Inspections offers water testing for Bacteria, Lead, and Nitrates/Nitrites for well water systems in northwest Indiana. Occasionally, a water sample will return from the laboratory positive for a specific contaminant. Most homeowners are anxious to learn the quickest and most effective solution to return the drinking water to its original, safe for drinking, state. However, no single treatment method can protect homeowners against all contaminants in well water. Therefore, often times multiple treatments are recommended depending on the individual situation. The most common methods of household water treatment systems are filtration systems, water softeners, distillation systems, and disinfection.
Water filtration systems are merely water filters that remove impurities by creating a physical barrier using chemical or biological methods. Water softeners help by reducing the hardness within the water. This method replaces calcium and magnesium ions with sodium or potassium ions causing the hardness to decrease. Distillation systems are also used to remove impurities through a boiling process where steam is collected and condensed in another container, eliminating many contaminants which are left behind. If bacteria, or coliform/fecal matter is detected within the drinking water, disinfecting the well is recommended. The disinfection process kills pathogenic organisms by use of chemicals such as bleach and/or chlorine. Other physical disinfectants include heat, electronic radiation, and ultraviolet light. Certified Home Inspections only performs water testing and is not qualified to perform well water treatments. We do email our clients instructions describing how to disinfect a well water system when results return positive for bacteria from the lab. In addition, we recommend contacting a qualified, knowledgeable well water systems contractor for further evaluation and recommendations for follow up testing one to two weeks after the well has been treated.
In this article we have examined various methods of cleaning or disinfecting our well water. It is very important we understand the initial cause of the well water contamination to help prevent future health hazards. In some cases, improper location or well siting is the cause. It is crucial to maintain proper, safe distances between private well water systems and any possible sources of contamination. Therefore, the EPA requires all septic tanks be located at a distance of 50 feet or more from all wells. Likewise, livestock yards, silos, and septic leach fields must maintain the same distance. Petroleum tanks, manure storage tanks, and fertilizer storage containers are required to be 100 feet away. Some farms maintain manure stacks which are only allowed within 250 feet from the well. Upon request, Certified offers septic tank, drain field, and well location sketches to ensure the client all wells and septic tanks are located proper distances from each other, the house, and all property lines.