Ground Water FAQs
Next to the air we breathe, water is the most important resource available to our existence. Seventy percent (70%) of the earth’s surface is covered by water. However, only three percent (3%) is suitable for drinking. Our ground water fits in this 3 percent.
Below you will find answers to questions about ground or well water.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ground Water/Well Water
- What is ground or well water?
Ground water is natural resource found below the earth’s surface. It comes from rain and melted snow soaking down to a collection area. This collection area is known as the aquifer.
About half of our country depends on ground water for it’s drinking water source which is supplied by the local water treatment plant, while the other half of our country depends on a private water well and uses ground water as their source of fresh water.
- How Can Our Ground Water Become Polluted?
Ground Water (a.k.a. well water) is a natural solvent and dissolves any dissolveable material it comes in contact with. This results in pollution of ground water, polluted with every dissolved contaminant the water passed through on it’s path after leaving the atmosphere as rain, sleet, snow or hail.
- What Are The Sources Of Ground Water Pollution?
2 Sources – Ground Water has two sources for it’s source of pollution.
Natural Sources – The first source of pollution comes from a natural source (i.e.-magnesium, chlorides, iron and calcium)
Man-made Sources – The second source of ground water pollution comes from a manmade source(i.e.- fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and improperly built or installed septic systems). Also see “How can I detect a potential problem“.
(Note: Some pollutants may only be detected by a state certified lab.)
- What Are Some Natural Sources Of Ground Water Pollution?
Microorganisms – Microorganisms are most often found in water coming from a shallow well, especially in areas with a high water table. This results in a higher risk of an infested water supply. Symptoms of illnesses from microorganisms are similiar to that of food poisoning. These include: Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- other types
Nitrates and Nitrites Nitrates and Nitrites are formed when nitrogen compunds break down into the soil. They are then transported by water into the water. below the ground. Nitrates and Nitrites are a threat to the health of infants.
Heavy Metals – May be found in underground rock and soil, but from natural sources, are usually only found in very low levels. They can pose numerous health effects, especially in infants and children.
Flouride – Flouride is commonly used in dentistry for cavity prevention. so many water treatment plants add it to the water supply. However, too much flouride can damage bone tissues and discolor teeth.
- What Are Some Manmade Sources Of Ground Water Pollution?
Nitrates and Bacteria:
- come from human & animal waste
- leaking septic tanks
- large amount of animals in confined area
- garbage dumps
Lead Based Plumbing
- Lead based plumbing is the number one source for lead in drinking water.
- Ph or “potential of hydrogen” can affect how lead enters the water supply.
- Abnormal Ph can cause leaching of lead in water with lead based plumbing.
- The EPA set the lead limit to just 15 parts per billion under the Safe Drinking Water Act and since 1988, allows only “lead-free” pipe, flux, and solder in plumbing systems for potable water.
- Lead is harmful, even in low amounts. It can cause brain damage, damage to red-blood cells, nervous system, and kidneys.
- can come from mining and construction
- arsenic from outdated pesticides
- from improper waste disposal (motor oil, paint, cleaners, etc.)
- leaking septic system
Pesticides and Fertilizers
- heavy use can cause problems and will allow chemicals to leak into our groundwater supply.
- Copper plumbing will leach into water supplies exposed to aggressive
- Aggressive/Corrosive water is caused by Ph outside of the 7 range.
- Should I be concerned about my water?
- The EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act doesn’t protect private wells. Only water supplies serving at least 25 people and/or 15 or more service connections.
- The EPA does reccommend an annual water test for Nitrogen (Nitrate/Nitrite) and E. Coli Bacterial Tests for private well owners.
- We do affordable EPA Lab Testing.
- Should I expect a certain amount of risk?
The chance of having well problems depends on many factors, such as:
- How good your well is
- If your well was installed correctly
- Where it is located (Is it near a known pollutant?)
- Quality of the water source
- Is there anything I should do?
Private Well and Ground Water Safety Guide
If Building, Closing Or Modifying A Well
- Hire a Certified Well Driller For New Wells or Modifications.
- Form Slope For Water Runoff Around Well To Prevent Standing Water.
- If Closing An Old Well, Hire a Certified Well Driller to Fill And Seal. (Note: Do Not Cut Old Well Casing Below The Ground)
- Protect Water Well Supply By Installing Locking Well Cap or Seal Cap.
- DO NOT USE ANY CHEMICALS In Or Near Well (fertilizers, oil, etc)
- Never Pour Anything Into Dry Or Abandoned Wells.
- Perform Recommended Service And Inspection On Pump and Well.
Keep Your Well Properly Maintained
- We Recommend Inspecting Your Well Monthly.
- Inspect Well For Missing Well Cap, Corrosion, Cracking, Or Old Seals.
- Perform EPA Annual Recommended Water Test For E-Coli & Nitrates.
- Keep Well Maintenance Records and Water Test Results In Safe Area.
Important: If Your Well Floods, Please Perform The Following.
- Keep At A Safe Distance Due To Electrical Hazard.
- Hire A Certified Well Contractor In Safe Start Up And Sanitation of Well.
- If Water Quality Is Uncertain, We Recommend A State Certified Test.
- Need more information?
For More Information about Protecting Your Private Well Water Supply, go to http://www.epa.gov/saf…umer/whatdo.htm