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Well Checkup – How Safe is Your Water?

29 June 2018 Community


We try to stay healthy with annual physicals, eating healthy foods, and exercising, but when was the last time that you checked the quality of your well water? If your family relies on well water for drinking, cooking, and bathing, now is the time to think about a well water checkup. Many well water contaminants are not visible, nor can they be tasted.  Homeowners with private wells do not realize that they are solely responsible for the testing and safety of their water supply.

What tests should be done on your well water?  Testing for total coliform bacteria is recommended on an annual basis.  Some testing will specifically look for E-Coli bacteria.  The presence of coliform bacteria may indicate that more serious bacteria may have entered your water supply.  Tests for pH, nitrate, and total dissolved solids (TDS) are recommended every three years.  These are good indicators of general water quality.

Testing is also recommended if any of the following situations are encountered in your household:

  • Family members suddenly start experiencing gastrointestinal illnesses
  • Household plumbing contains lead
  • A pregnant woman or young infant will be residing in your household
  • A change occurs in the taste, smell, or appearance of the water
  • Water softeners are used and a family member starts a low-sodium diet

Keeping up with well maintenance can save you money in the long run.

  • Do you perform a visual inspection of your well annually?
  • Is the cap on your well in good repair?
  • Do you have a fertilizer-free zone around your well head?

Virginia Cooperative Extension is concerned about the health of your private well.  They will be conducting well water clinics this year is Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties in order to give private well owners an opportunity to test their water and to learn about possible treatments and general well maintenance.

For dates and locations of the clinics, click here to download/view the flyer: FLYER -2018 Water Clinic

You can also hear the podcast of The Valley Today with extension agent Mark Sutphin explaining the process, why it’s important and who should have their water tested by clicking here.


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