If you rely on a personal well for your water, it is important to get it tested on a regular basis, especially if you don’t have disinfection technology.
Many wells are older, dug wells without proper seals and are very susceptible to surface water run off contamination. Wells can even be susceptible to contamination from your septic tank.
Most health units, at least here on Ontario, provide free testing services for private wells. They test for two things – total coliform and E.coli or Fecal Coliform.Look at this now Well Water Testing.
Total coliform is an indicator organism, and lets you know if there might be a problem with the well. Coliforms are a very common organism and reside in shallow water aquifers and the surrounding soil. Total Coliforms may not be a problem, but too many of them can mask a much more serious problem – E.Coli or Fecal Coliforms.
Ecoli and Fecal Coliform presence in your water means direct contamination from human or animal waste. This is a problem because the E.Coli’s that cause serious gastrointestinal problems are ones that come from animal waste.
So what can you do if an E.Coli is detected? The first thing is to find another source of drinking and cooking water, and retest. Sometimes an E.Coli result is a fluke and another test will either confirm that or will tell you that there is an E.Coli issue.
Your other options are having a new and more secure well drilled, and/or installing treatment technology such as filtration and Ultraviolet Disinfection or a chlorinator.
Remember, if you do install a new well and/or some treatment technology, it’s important to disinfect the plumbing in your house. Bacteria can form colonies in your plumbing if it’s been contaminated with dirty well water.
Run some bleach through the lines and make sure you run it to each and every tap in the house by turning on the fixture until you smell the bleach. Let it sit undisturbed for a few hours before flushing the bleach through – that will disinfect your plumbing.
It’s important to disinfect your plumbing whenever you open it up to do a repair, install a new fixture or add a new line. Bacteria can come from your hands and tools as well and can procreate themselves in your plumbing.
Remember, test the water you drink on a regular basis, even if you have a treatment system. Treatment systems mitigate risk but the only way to prevent a problem for sure is to know about it.