Don’t forget to test your water well this spring | TheFencePost.com
Courtesy Jefferson County Public Health

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Don’t forget to test your water well this spring

Just as you check your furnace or smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual water well checkup before the peak water use season begins, according to the National Ground Water Association.

Why is it a good idea to have my water well checked annually?

An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water.

"Although water from your well is usually of high quality and safe to drink, without routine testing, you really don't know what is in the water you are drinking," said Roy Laws of the Jefferson County Public Health Environmental Services Division. "There are naturally occurring contaminants and human-caused contamination that can impact water quality and your health. To make sure that your water is — and remains — safe to drink, we recommend annual testing for the presence or absence of bacteria and nitrates. Depending on where you live, your routine water test should also screen for other contaminants such as uranium and fluoride."

Also, preventative maintenance usually is less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance — like good car maintenance — can prolong the life of your well and related equipment. Jefferson County Public Health also recommends you test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or when the system is serviced.

Wells can provide high-quality drinking water, and about half the U.S. population receives its drinking water from wells. But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order. A check of your well by a qualified water well contractor may include:

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» A flow test to determine how much water the well is producing, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).

» A well equipment inspection to assure it's sanitary and meets local code.

» A test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates and anything else of local concern. Other typical additional tests are those for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance and odor.

Jefferson County Public Health Environmental Health Division also recommends well owners:

Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a "clean" zone of at least 50 feet between your well and any kennels and livestock operations.

Maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems and chemical storage areas.

Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.

Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.