laboratory test tubes and dropper

    Published: December 6, 2016

    Everything You Need to Know About Well Water Testing

    Do you know what’s in your water? Municipal water users in cities and towns generally have access to their area’s annual water report, which breaks down the levels of contaminants and minerals present in the local water supply. If an issue is found, generally the public is alerted immediately and steps are taken to resolve the issue.

    But when you use a private well, all bets are off. Runoff, flooding, seepage, and other factors like being located near a farm or manufacturing plant can change the quality of your water overnight.

    If you’ve ever turned on the faucet and noticed that signature rotten egg smell, you’ve experienced well water contamination firsthand. Homeowners that utilize a private well should have their water regularly tested to ensure it meets typical quality standards.

    Comprehensive water testing is ideal, as several factors can influence your water quality and multiple chemicals or minerals could be present. While testing annually is recommended, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) advises well owners to test their water as soon as possible if:

    • The taste, odor, or appearance of the water changes
    • The well has a history of bacterial infection
    • The septic system has malfunctioned or overflowed recently
    • A flood occurs or if the well cap ruptures
    • Anyone living in the home reports instances of gastrointestinal distress

    To understand the risks of not testing your well water you must comprehend the variety of problems that can affect the water in your well. One primary concern is bacterial contamination, whether from human or animal wastes. The main indicator that tests look for is coliform – if coliform is present in the water it should most likely be treated. Many tests also check E. coli levels, which can indicate fecal contamination.

    Another common problem within well water is the presence of nitrates. Nitrates come from sources such as fertilizers, animal manure, and septic systems. Nitrogen compounds are broken down in the rock and soil that surrounds the well. If nitrates are found in your well water, it’s likely that pesticides and bacteria are also present.

    Well water testing also examines the hardness of the water and checks for manganese, sulfides, and other indicators of potential health problems. Certain issues that vary in severity by location include radon and arsenic contamination. There are a host of contaminants that can infiltrate your well water, and each chemical poses unique risks to your health.

    To obtain a test, simply order one of our many well water testing kits. The Pelican Water Rapid 12-Point water test identifies the twelve most common contaminants present in private water sources, while the WaterCheck 32 test is much more comprehensive to pinpoint the exact problem.

    Once a kit is shipped to your home, just follow the instructions provided in order to obtain a water sample from your well. Instructions on returning your sample to the appropriate lab are included, along with complementary shipping. Results of your well test are generally available within three to five business days.

    Deciding what water filter is best for your home is dependent on the results of your well water testing. For example, cloudy, metallic tasting water may test positive for manganese and iron minerals. Pelican Water offers a specific Iron & Manganese Water Filter to alleviate this problem.

    Another possibility may be excess hard water residue, in which case the Whole House Filter and Water Softener Alternative with Salt Free Technology would be the best investment. Check out our exhaustive list of common well water contaminants to learn more about the filters that will best provide your home with clean, pure water.