Test Wells Regularly

first_img* Your family has unexplained illnesses. Have your water tested often, Tyson said, if: High levels of such things as iron and water hardness can cause staining and laundry problems.But they don’t often affect your health. “They’re just annoyances,” he said. A water quality expert, Tyson knows a private well is a poor place to let down your guard. “Aspill of contaminants near the well could pollute your family’s drinking water supply,” he said. * You notice a change in water taste, odor, color or clarity. Many people worry most about pesticides. But Tyson said they’re way down the list ofcontaminants in Georgia. “They’re hardly ever a problem in well water,” he said. * Your neighbors find a contaminant in their water. If they’re careless, though, they can let contaminants get into the water. “You can’t have your water tested for every conceivable pollutant,” Tyson says. “But somebasic tests can tell whether you have other problems.” The keys to safe water, he said, are to be careful around the well and have your water tested asneeded. Not doing either could mean taking chances with your family’s health. * Chemicals or manure are applied to fields within 500 feet of your well. “Contact your county agent or another water quality expert to interpret test results.” Tysonsaid. “Many materials, including bacteria and nitrate-nitrogen, are naturally present in minoramounts in groundwater. Or they can vary seasonally.” “That can be a serious problem when there’s a concentration of any kind of contaminant nearthe well,” he said. “The well’s condition and nearness to contamination sources determine the risk to the wateryou drink,” said Tony Tyson, an engineer with the University of Georgia Extension Service. The best way to keep an eye on water quality, he said, is by testing your well regularly. Whenyou do, the problems you’re most likely to find are naturally occurring minerals. * Someone in the family is pregnant. Lead is another potential contaminant. It’s almost never in the groundwater. But it can be aproblem when acidic water passes through the plumbing in certain old houses. Your county Extension Service agent or health department can advise you on the correct teststo run. Testing for them isn’t often practical, since tests can cost up to $100 per compound. As a rule,test for a pesticide only if you have a reason to suspect it, such as a spill near the well. Georgia is blessed with plenty of cool, clean groundwater. About 95 percent of ruralGeorgians depend on it to supply their drinking water and farm needs. The most common problems in the rural water supply, he said, are poorly built wells thatallow surface water into the well. Then make sure you know what the test results mean. Statewide, two contaminants are the most likely to show up in rural wells. “Bacteria andnitrates,” Tyson said, can be released from septic systems, waste-storage areas, feedlots andanimal yards in amounts that could contaminate your well.”last_img