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Well water problems and what to do about them   Article Center   

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Well water problems and what to do about them

By: Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector
Well water problems and what to do about them

Submitted by: Michael Del Greco, New Jersey Home Inspector Lic GI 0121, President of Accurate Inspections, Inc, a New Jersey home inspection company

Many homes in the United State have domestic drinking water provided by private wells. Private well water should be tested every six months or so to determine if it is still safe to drink or not.

Some home owners sometimes do not test the water becasue they feel if they do not know about a problem one may not exist. Others feel that problems with the water can be difficult or expensive to treat.

Problems with contaminated well water can have create health hazards, especially for people who are already sick.

I have Coliform Bacteria in my water. What do I do?

Coliform bacteria is a common contaminant in many water supplies. Public water supplies treat for this condition daily with chlorine. If found in private well water, it can also be treated by chlorine disinfection. In fact, the most common contaminant found in untreated well water is coliform bacteria. Most are not harmful if they are present at low levels. However, certain types such as E.Coli or fecal coliform, should not be present even at low levels. Annual chlorination is recommended for private wells. There are other treatment methods available, such as continuous chlorine injection or UV treatment. See Water Treatment for more information.

My first draw lead sample did not conform to standards. What does this mean?

Until recently pipe solder contained lead. As water sits in plumbing pipes the lead dissolves (especially if the water is acidic). The cheapest and easiest way to avoid exposure to lead, in this instance, is to only drink or cook with water that has not been in your plumbing pipes for long. Prior to use, run cold water until the temperature changes, from about room temperature to about 40F degrees. The \"cold\" water will be fresh from the well!

I have a water softener and my water tested high for sodium. What does this mean?

The water sample may have been drawn when the water softener shifted into a backwash cycle or repair or adjustment of the water softener may be necessary. Contact the vendor or manufacturer of the water softener to determine the best way to proceed. Many home owners have changed to potassium chloride instead of the more commonly used sodium chloride to avoid problems, check with the vendor or manufacturer to determine if this is allowable.

The pH of my well water does not conform to standards. What does this mean?

The pH is a measurement of the acidity of water. The lower the pH, the more acidic the water. The pH of most well water is generally less than 7.0, for areas in sandy soil, and higher if the soil conditions are rocky or contain certain clays. In most cases non-conformity is due to a low pH (
Buying a home in New Jersey? has a listing of home inspectors in all counties of new Jersey. New Jersey Home Inspections are performed by the author of this artical Michael Del Greco in Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic Counties.

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