Why the Fuss About Well Water Testing?
Well water has been a vital source of drinking water for millennia. It Northern Virginia, wells are still one of the major sources for family water in outlying areas. The quality of this water can meet and exceed that of municipal water supplies, in taste, cleanliness and safety. Well water also supplies essential minerals and other nutrients that occur naturally in the water.
But the wells need to be tested for safety on a regular basis. According to a study done in the early 2000s more than one-quarter of all cases of water contamination in the U.S. were found in well water. To keep your family safe, you need to arrange well water testing in Prince William, VA, at least once a year.
Here is a look at how wells get contaminated and what types of tests can catch potential problems early.
How Well Water Gets Contaminated
Contamination happens in a number of ways and contaminants can be man-made or natural. Heavy rainfall and flooding and runoff after storms can easily overwhelm even well constructed and maintained wells.
Design and construction problems include a well that is lined with badly sealed brick, tile or stone, or has an unsealed cover. If the casing is sealed incorrectly and it runs through a bedrock formation or another type of unconsolidated formation, contaminated water can get into the aquifer.
On the other end, if the well casing isn’t high enough above the surface of the ground, surface water can get into the top of the well casing. If the casing stops at a pit, basement or area that often floods or has seepage, contamination is likely.
Contamination can result for local land disruptions. Do you have a new land development going in close to your well? It’s a good idea to get well water testing in Prince William, VA. Are you close to a landfill that is in active use? Then getting the testing done more than once a year is important.
Fuel tanks can leak, whether they are above or below ground. If you have a fuel tank that is placed within the 100-yard safety zone of your well, any leakage or spill can easily find a pathway into your drinking water.
Agricultural runoff is a common problem on farms. That’s why wells should be upslope from where your farm animals are kept. Unfortunately, new construction in the area is more often being built downslope, putting the drinking water at risk.
Septic system runoff is also a major cause of well water contamination. If your well is placed close to the septic tank, or is downslope from it, a leak in the septic system can affect your drinking water. If you have this type of placement, it is essential to do well water testing in Prince William, VA, more often than once a year.
Weather conditions can lead to contamination. Flooding is one of the biggest sources of well problems. If storms have dumped heavy rains and snow in your area, testing can tell if the runoff brought contaminants.
One example is based on a study done in East Fishkill, NY, several years ago. An excess amount of sodium was getting into wells from the salt used on roads during snowstorms. Residents didn’t notice a difference in taste, but the sodium levels were well above recommended levels. Too much salt is associated with blood pressure problems, and heart and kidney disease.
Types of Well Water Testing
Well water testing in Prince William, VA, tests for a variety of substances. A partial list includes coliform and fecal coliform bacteria, lead, nitrates, pesticides, total harness, chloride, iron, pH, sulfates, copper and hydrogen sulfide. The two tests considered most important are coliform bacteria and nitrates.
Coliform bacteria originates in the intestines of mammals but makes its way into the soil, vegetation and runoff. It can result in illness from the bacteria, viruses and parasites. Regular testing can detect levels of the bacteria. With early testing the problem can be fixed so no problems develop from drinking the water.
Nitrates are naturally occurring but can cause problems if a person consumes them at high levels. This is a special consideration if you have an infant under six months. Too many nitrates in the baby’s system leads to blue baby syndrome and suffocation. Nitrates get into your well water from wastewater, fertilizers and decaying plant matter.
SES has been serving the Northern Virginia area since 1987. Over the years we have earned a reputation for expert testing, thorough work and skilled technicians. The team here at SES handles all types of environmental work, including well water testing in Prince William, VA. From septic tank systems to petroleum tanks and storm water systems, we have the experience and training to do a rigorous assessment. We have earned the respect of local and state health departments and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources in Virginia, Delaware and Maryland.
SES works with a wide range of individuals and groups, performing a variety of environmental work. We deal with architects, lawyers, government agencies, homeowners, realtors, land planners, property developers, contractors and management companies.
Here at SES, we handle commercial, governmental and residential environmental projects, including:
- Well water testing
- Conventional and alternative septic system design
- Septic inspection, installation, maintenance and repair
- Monitoring well installation and sampling
- Environmental site assessments
- Petroleum tank removals, inspections and installations
- Soil investigations for onsite systems
- Petroleum contamination cleanup
- Operations and maintenance contracts
- Expert witness testimony
- Storm water structure inspection, reporting and maintenance
- Corrective action plans
For a free, no-obligation estimate for well water testing in Prince William, VA, call the experts at SES today.