If you have a well, an annual well inspection should be part of your maintenance to-do list. Even if your water tastes good, lead and other contaminants can seep into the water supply and lead to health problems. A well inspection is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of your drinking water.
What Does a Well Inspection Include?
Conducted by a licensed and/or certified well water contractor, your annual well inspection should include several components:
- A flow test to measure water output and level, pump performance, tank pressure and switch contact pressure,
- An inspection of equipment to ensure that it meets local codes and appears to be safe,
- A test of water for coliform bacteria and nitrates,
- Tests for any minerals known to affect water conditions in the area, such as sulfides, manganese or iron,
- Periodic tests for pH levels or total dissolved solids,
- Additional tests if the water is cloudy or oily, if there are signs of bacterial growth on fixtures or if equipment is not working properly, and
- A written report that includes laboratory data, explains results and offers recommendations.
Useful Information about Well Inspections
Once you receive the reports from your well inspection and from any other tests that were performed, you should retain the records and keep them in a safe place, along with construction documents from when the well was first dug. Most wells have a life expectancy of about 20 years or more. Having your records on hand will be useful in determining when you might need to replace it, and necessary if you sell your house.
How much can you expect to pay for a well inspection? The cost varies according to the area and is based on the sampling methods, test procedures and the number of tests performed, but a homeowner can generally plan on spending around $150-$350. More extensive sampling for more contaminants can raise the cost.
When choosing a well inspector, it is important to use one who is licensed and certified in your state and who is familiar with the local codes. The inspector should use laboratories that are licensed to test for various contaminants that may appear in the water.
Why Should You Order an Annual Well Inspection?
You may wonder why an annual well inspection is necessary if you have no problems with taste, appearance, odor or performance. Since your well is underground, you may be unaware of any possible changes. If your home is near farms, mines, a landfill or gas or oil fields, contaminants could infiltrate your water. The same is true if you have dumped oil or waste in your yard, had your home exterminated, have a septic tank problem or develop cracks in the sealed sanitary cap on your well.
Having an annual well inspection is the best way to assure the safety and quality of your water supply.