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  • Writer's pictureTeena

Best Ways To Test Well Water For Contaminants


hand holding test tube
Well Water Testing is a Must!

Well Water Woes: Test Your Well Water!


So, you’re lucky enough to have your own well.


Maybe it’s a deep well that has been there for decades and generations of your family have used it for drinking water.


Or maybe you just moved into the neighborhood and decided that having a well was better than paying an exorbitant amount of money each month for city water service.


Either way, if you intend on drinking this water then I encourage you to test it to make sure there aren't any contaminants in it. The EPA requires all public water suppliers to conduct testing every year but they don't require private wells be tested (though some states do).


So let's go over some common questions people ask about testing their well water:


stink
Even If Your Well Water Doesn't Stink - It Still Might Be Bad!

Why test your well water?


Well water can be contaminated with a whole host of toxic chemicals, not to mention bacteria, parasites, and nitrates.


Wells should be tested for a host of contaminants before you drink from them or use it for cooking or bathing.


You don't want toxic chemicals in your drinking water and this guide will help you find out if there are.


In my opinion, well water is not safe to drink without testing.


Well water can contain many different contaminants including: arsenic, lead, pesticides and MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether). You may not know if your well water has contaminants until you test it!


polluted water
Polluted Water

Can Well Water Be Harmful to Your Health?


Well water can be harmful to your health because of a variety of contaminants, including:

  • Toxic chemicals. These include industrial chemicals such as pesticides and solvents, which are used in manufacturing processes and then released into the environment. They may also come from household products such as cleaning supplies or personal care products (like shampoo).

  • Heavy metals like lead and chromium 6 that can leach out of pipes when they're exposed to corrosive agents like acidic water or rusting underground pipes. This is especially true if you live near a former industrial site--or even an old landfill!

  • Nitrates from fertilizers used on farms near your home may contaminate your well if it's close enough to those fields (and many wells are). Nitrates pose health risks for infants under six months old because they're not yet able to process them properly in their bodies; this can cause "blue baby syndrome," which causes their skin coloration to turn blue due to lack of oxygen getting into their blood stream through their lungs' blood vessels due to poor circulation caused by low levels of nitric oxide being produced by certain types bacteria living inside them..

How do I test my well water?

As a homeowner, it's your responsibility to ensure that the water you and your family drink is safe. Unfortunately, if you live in an area with poor water quality or a lack of municipal infrastructure, this can be difficult without proper testing equipment. Luckily for us all--and especially those who don't have access to public utilities--there are several ways in which homeowners can test their well water quality at home or on-site:

  • Test kits from local hardware stores (or online)

  • Lab analysis through commercial labs

  • Agricultural Extension or local health departments

These methods are simple but effective for determining whether there are any contaminants present in your well water before it is used inside your house, to water your livestock, and to water your plants and gardens!


What do I need to test my well water?

You'll need a water testing kit, which is available at hardware stores. The kit comes with instructions on how to use it and will require you to collect a sample of well water by using a garden hose or other similar method.


If you decide to have it tested commercially or at an Agricultural Extension/Health Department, they will instruct you how to collect it.


water test strips
Well Water Test Kit

Well Water Test Kits


You can purchase a water test kit at home improvement stores, drug stores, or online. Test kits are easy to use but you will need to follow the instructions carefully. Test kits are inexpensive and provide accurate results in just minutes.

Kits that test your water using dip sticks, typically test for the following:

· Lead

· Sodium Chloride

· Total Alkalinity

· Zinc

· Iron

· Nitrite

· PH Hydrogen Sulfide

· Fluoride

· Total Chlorine

· Hardness

· Mercury

· Copper

· Nitrate

· Sulfate

· Managnese

· Coliform/E Coli bacteria


If you still have questions after using a home test kit, consider having your well water tested at a local health department, Agricultural Extension, or a commercial lab that is certified by the EPA.


 women gardening
Never Use Contaminated Water on Your Garden Plants

Water Testing Kits for Home and Garden


Watering your garden with bad well water is not the healthy thing to do! Before using your well water, make sure you test for contaminants to ensure the food you grow is not affected by contaminants.


Water testing kits are easy to use, affordable and can be found at most hardware stores. They are also available online. The testing process takes just a few minutes, and the results are usually available within minutes as well.


There are many different types of water testing kits on the market today but they all work in basically the same way: you take a sample of your well water, dip a test strip in the water for the amount of time they instruct you, and compare the colors on the pads to a chart that comes with the kit.


There are many different types of water tests that can be used to test well water.


There are many different types of water tests that can be used to test well water.


The type of test you should use depends on the contaminants you are looking for, but there are some general guidelines:

  • If your well is contaminated with bacteria or nitrates, a simple home kit may be all you need. These kits often come with instructions on how to take a sample from your faucet and send it in for testing by mail.

  • For testing metals (like lead) or pesticides/herbicides in drinking water, an EPA-certified laboratory is required because these chemicals require more complex analysis methods than bacteria or nitrates do.

Are there any other contaminants in my water that aren't listed as being dangerous to human health?


If you're worried about other contaminants, there are a few things to consider.

  • Most of them aren't harmful to human health. The EPA sets drinking water standards for about 90 different substances. A few more have been added since then, and some states have added more--but it's still a relatively small number compared with the total number of possible contaminants in your well water (which I'm sure you've already calculated).

  • Some can cause problems for the environment if they get into lakes or rivers through run-off from rain or snow melt on land where there's been farming activity nearby. These include nitrates from manure used as fertilizer and pesticides used in agriculture; both of these can lead to high levels of algae growth when they enter rivers and streams during certain seasons of year when conditions are right (such as springtime). This algae can then die off when temperatures drop again later in fall/winter months...


US EPA
US Environmental Protection Agency

What The EPA Says About Testing Well Water For Contaminants


In summary, this article written by the Environmental Protection Agency says it’s important to test your well water.


Private wells can be contaminated by both naturally occurring sources and by human activities. The following are commonly found contaminants, their sources, and their possible human health impacts


According to the article, the most common contaminants in well water are:


  1. Microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites - They can be found all over the surface of our planet, in human sewage, and animal waste. People that consume drinking water containing microorganisms can experience gastrointestinal illnesses and infections. Water run-off from rainfall or snow-melt can contaminate private wells.

  2. Nitrates and Nitrites - Nitrates and nitrites are found in chemical fertilizers, human sewage, animal waste and manure. They can contaminate private wells through groundwater migration and surface water infiltration and water runoff. Ingested nitrates are converted into nitrites. High nitrate and nitrite levels are most serious for infants. High levels of nitrates/nitrites in drinking water can cause methemoglobinemia or "blue baby syndrome". These substances reduce the blood's ability to carry oxygen. This acute condition can develop rapidly over several days. Symptoms include shortness of breath and bluish skin. Infants under 6 months of age who drink water high in nitrates can become seriously ill and even die.

  3. Heavy metals can leach into drinking water from household plumbing and service lines, industry, municipal waste disposal, and natural mineral deposits. Heavy metals include: arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, selenium and many more. Heavy metals can contaminate private wells through snow melt and runoff, groundwater infiltration, and surface water seepage. If you consume high levels of heavy metals you might be at risk of acute and chronic toxicity, liver, kidney, and intestinal damage, anemia, and cancer.

  4. Organic Chemicals - Organic chemicals are found in many household products and are widely used in agriculture and industry. It is found in inks, dyes, pesticides, paints, pharmaceuticals, solvents, petroleum products, sealants, disinfectants, etc. Organic chemicals can enter groundwater and contaminate private wells through waste disposal, spills and surface water runoff. People who consume large amounts of organic chemicals can suffer from kidney, liver, circulatory, nervous, and reproductive systems.

  5. Radionuclides - Radionuclides are radioactive forms of elements such as uranium and radium. They are toxic to humans and can be released into the environment from uranium mining and milling, coal mining, and nuclear power generation. Radionuclides may also be naturally present in groundwater in some areas. Radionuclides can contaminate private wells through groundwater runoff, sewage infiltration, and flooding. Drinking water containing radionuclides can be toxic to the kidneys and increase the risk of cancer.

  6. Fluoride - Fluoride can be present in many aquifers and can be found in private wells. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. However, too much fluoride can lead to skeletal fluorosis, which is characterized by pain and tenderness in bones and joints. Excessive fluoride intake during enamel formation can lead to dental fluorosis, tooth discoloration and/or pitting.

Well Water Testing Takeaways


I hope you found this article to be informative and has provided you a good understanding of why testing your well water is important.


With the various methods and tests available, it is now easier than ever to test the quality of your well water.


The dangers of contaminants in well water cannot be ignored. It is crucial to be aware of what substances to test for and to ensure the safety of your health, pets, and livestock.


By testing for contaminants in your well water, you can identify any issues and take the necessary steps for treatment or filtration and protect bathroom fixtures, pipes, and more.


Thank you for reading, and I hope you take action to ensure the quality and safety of your well water by testing it today.




Homemade Well Water Filter


Are you tired of bad well water and what it can do to your pets, livestock, family, and home?


But commercial water filter systems are SO expensive and DIY solutions on Google are SO useless!


My homemade well water filter is the perfect solution. It’s just like a commercial system, but at a fraction of the cost.

I will walk you through the design, build, installation, and maintenance so you can have clean, safe water in no time.




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