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How to Keep Your Well Water Free of Contamination

Iron bucket with water at the depth of a round well
Nobody wants to drink or bathe in dirty water, right? If your home's water supply comes from a well that is on your property, then make sure that water is not polluted. You want to keep it clean, and abiding by the following tips will help to ensure that you do.

Check Your Well's Quality

Depending on the harmful substances in the liquid, contaminated well water can cause many health problems and accompanying uncomfortable symptoms. Potential short-term effects of ingesting contaminated water include diarrhea and vomiting, and the long-term effects might include kidney problems, brain damage, or even cancer.

Because of those risks, it is crucial to have your water tested annually. You might think that a check every year is too frequent, but a lot can happen to groundwater in just one year. Annual tests check for bacteria and nitrates. Nitrates can come from the use of fertilizers as well as bodily waste (human or animal).

At high levels, nitrates can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, with which your blood lacks the ability to carry oxygen through the body. This condition can be very harmful for your family, especially if you have small children. In fact, the condition can be fatal for infants under six months old.

Additionally, every three to five years, your well should also be inspected for lead, arsenic, radon, and uranium. Those and other heavy metals, like copper, can be quite dangerous if they get into your family's drinking water. As you can see, maintaining your well so that it produces quality water should be a top priority.

Keep Out Contaminants

As mentioned above, bodily waste is a huge risk for your well water. Because of that, septic tanks should never be placed in the vicinity of a well. Also, animals (household pets or farm animals) should not be allowed to roam free within 50 feet of a well. Otherwise, their fecal matter could potentially contaminate it if the bacteria make their way into the groundwater below.

If you have livestock, you should also make sure that the manure stockpiles and animal feed lots aren't near the well. To help minimize the chance of animal waste affecting the well, you might want to consider placing a fence all the way around the well so that animals won't be able to come within 50 feet of it.

When it comes to chemicals, you should watch out for pesticides and fertilizers. Make sure that all gardens or crops are planted fairly far away from the well. If your well is placed near your lawn and not just in a field, then make sure to not use fertilizer around it. Don't worry —  you can use fertilizer substitutes — like wood ash — so that your grass can still get all of the needed nutrients.

Seal Off the Well

Even if you put a fence up around the well, things can still get into it if it is not covered up. That is why installing a well cap or sanitary seal is critical. This way, bugs, rodents, or trash don't end up in the well — such things will pollute it.

Not only is putting a cap or seal on the well a safety measure for your family's health, but it is one for your family's physical safety as well. After all, you wouldn't want a child playing around a well — throwing things in the well or, even worse, falling into it.

If you suspect that the quality of your well water has been compromised, stop drinking it, get it tested, and take action. Call Camps Well & Pump, and we'll get you the water conditioning, treatment, and filtration services that you'll need to restore your well.