If you’re thinking of purchasing a home with a well as the main water supply, getting an expert opinion is essential.
A professional performs a well inspection to check the quality and quantity of your water.
The water will be tested for purity, ensuring that it is free of contaminants and does not pose any health risks.
The inspection will also determine whether the well has adequate water to adequately serve your property.
The most important reason to have them inspected is for health and safety.
What should you expect from a good well inspection?
In most circumstances, a flow test, bacterial testing of the water, any other concerns, equipment inspection, and a written report are all included.
National Ground Water Level Reading
In an inspection, you can expect to have the inspector pump out at least 60 gallons from your well.
The inspector may also need to pump it down or take a water level reading.
The inspection will include a visual inspection of the casing and screens for damage or obstructions.
It should include a check of the battery, wiring, and any associated equipment.
As part of this inspection, you should ask if they test for arsenic levels in your well as it is a common contaminant found in wells throughout America.
Arsenic contamination can occur naturally or due to man-made causes such as pesticide use and erosion from construction sites, landfills, and irrigated farmlands near your well.
In 2009, EPA set maximum contaminant levels for arsenic to ensure the greatest degree of public health protection, taking into account peer-reviewed science.
How much does it cost to have a well tester?
Generally, you should expect to pay about $300 for an inspection of a well that has not yet been built.
However, the cost may be higher due to the need for deep-well jetting (if there are more than six feet of silt) or if there are any other special circumstances required.
If your well is older and has never been inspected or tested, you should expect to pay between $500 and $700.
If your well is about 10 years old and has never been inspected or tested, you should expect to pay between $150 and $300 for a good inspection of the well and pump system.
Test the water to ensure that there are no bacteria or harmful pathogens in your good system.
A common bacterium that you may find is coliform, which comes from feces.
The presence of these can cause gastrointestinal illness symptoms similar to food poisoning symptoms which include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and others.
Steps to Maintain Your Water Well
Do your inspection of the good casing.
This is done by visually inspecting it for cracks, corrosion of materials, or holes.
Other inspection methods may include using a pin to see if there are any holes in the casing (like when you check an egg carton for holes before buying eggs).
You should also test your water for pH and other factors that show the quality of your water.
You can test this by purchasing a testing kit from your local hardware store or using chemicals that are available for free at most municipal facilities.
If you have any questions about inspection or maintenance, be sure to contact a professional well inspection company.
Not only will they know what to look for, but they can offer advice on how to keep your well in good working order for years.
What does a well inspection involve?
A well inspection includes several tests. However, the main two tests include testing for water safety and for water quantity.
The first step is an inspection, which checks for water safety and purity.
The inspector draws a water sample from the tap in your home and sends it to a lab for testing.
You’ll get a report detailing what’s in your water and the acceptable limit for each component discovered once tests are completed.
The water inspection usually tests for PH levels, hardness, alkalinity, and turbidity, which essentially means the cloudiness or clarity of the water.
The lab results will also reveal the minerals present in your water. Typically, your water is tested for iron, calcium, manganese, copper, fluoride, and chloride.
For many, a big draw of owning a well is for the natural minerals. Water high in minerals contains health and nutrient benefits.
Plus, minerals tend to make the water taste better too.
Along with mineral testing, the inspection also tests for coliform bacteria and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
You especially don’t want to find VOCs in your water as they pose a huge health hazard.
VOCs examples include human-made chemicals, gasoline compounds like MtBE and benzene, and even chloroform. You don’t want these in your water.
The inspector should also test your well for radon. In many areas, radon isn’t automatically included in the list of elements tested so you’ll want to be sure to specifically request a radon test.
Your water evaluation will also check the quantity of your water supply.
You don’t want to be left in the shower with a full head of shampoo and no water.
You’ll want to make sure you will have enough capacity for your family’s needs.
If you have a bigger household, your well may require modifications to meet your water demands.
To test water quantity, the inspector measures the dimensions and depth of the well and conducts a flow rate test.
The flow indicates the amount of water coming from your well, and the flow rate measures the number of gallons per minute.
On average, a home needs 100 to 120 gallons per person per day.
The flow rate should be around 6 to 12 gallons per minute.
This ensures you have accurate water pressure and enough water to meet basic needs such as bathing, cooking, and washing.
During the inspection, the inspector will also check your pressure tank.
The inspector will look for any rusting, leaking, or other mechanical defects that could result in low water pressure or contamination.
How Often Should I Inspect My Well?
Inspection frequency is usually proportional to the risk of a problem occurring.
In most cases, inspection should be done on a yearly basis for existing wells and about every three years for new wells.
This inspection includes testing your water supply for potential contamination from biological pathogens or chemicals that can affect human health.
Drinking water quality varies from place to place, depending on the condition of the source water from which it is drawn and the treatment it receives, but it must meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
Community water systems follow the rules set forth by the Safe Drinking Water Act
Many states enforce their own drinking water standards that are at least as protective as EPA’s national standards.
The SDWA rules include guidelines for drinking water quality, water testing schedules, and water testing methods.
Even though U.S. tap water supplies are considered to be among the safest in the world, water contamination can still occur.
There are many possible sources of contamination, including:
- Sewage releases
- Naturally occurring chemicals and minerals (for example, arsenic, radon, uranium)
- Local land-use practices (for example, fertilizers, pesticides, livestock, concentrated feeding operations)
- Manufacturing processes (for example, heavy metals, cyanide)
- Malfunctioning on-site wastewater treatment systems (for example, septic systems)
In addition, drinking water that is not properly treated or that travels through an improperly maintained distribution system (pipes) may also create conditions that increase the risk of contamination.
Types of Well
1. Bored Well
Dug wells are shallow and they are not the best option for your drinking water.
This type of well poses the highest risk of contamination of the water supply due to poor protection from surface water.
A dug well usually consists of a large diameter hole that is usually over 2 feet wide, and it can be constructed by hand or using excavation equipment.
The large-diameter wells are usually constructed using corrugated galvanized steel or prefabricated concrete tile.
Older wells are often constructed of stone, brick, or wood cribbing and they are very susceptible to surface-water seepage.
2. Dug Well
Bored wells are constructed using a boring machine and they usually have an average depth of about 15 m or 50 ft., although some wells are 30m or 100 ft. deep.
The wells that are usually about 2 feet in diameter are constructed using an earth auger and concrete is the most common material used.
As these wells are typically shallow, they are susceptible to contamination.
Apart from the high risk of contamination, the low water levels mean that the wells are often the first to go dry during the drought.
3. Drilled Well
The sand-point or driven-point wells are constructed using assembled lengths of pipe that are driven into the ground.
These wells are usually small in diameter;about 2 inches or less, and they are less than 50 feet in depth.
These types of wells can only be installed in locations with relatively loose soils, such as sand and gravel aquifers.
They are driven into the ground or inserted using high water pressure and they are often only installed in places with a shallow water table that contains little or no stones.
4. Driven Point Well
Drilled wells often refer to all the other types of wells, and this includes those that are constructed using a combination of driving and jetting.
Drilled wells for farm use are usually 4 to 8 inches in diameter and they pose a low risk of contamination when properly constructed.
Drilled wells can get water from bedrock aquifers and overburden.
The overburden wells are usually composed of sands and gravels and they include those constructed into the geological materials that are above bedrock.
Most water wells come with a well screen that lets groundwater into the well while keeping away sand and other materials.
The well screen openings are properly sized to allow the sediment-free water to flow into the well, while enhancing the connection between the aquifer and the well.
Water quality problems are directly related to the type of well, its condition, depth, and the proximity to potential sources of contamination
The Functions of a Pressure Tank in Your Well System
The pressure tank is one of the main components of a well system, along with the pump, pressure switch, and the well itself. It stores water from the well and supplies it to your home at an appropriate pressure.
The pressure tank is usually a steel cylinder with an inner bladder, and the size of the tank depends on the home’s needs.
Generally, smaller homes need tanks that are about 50- to 100-gallon capacity, while larger homes require tanks that can store more than 300 gallons.
The inner bladder inside the tank provides water storage and it also cushions the water, which will help to prevent damage to water lines.
The main reason you should have your well inspected is due to safety.
Most inspection companies test the water for bacteria and nitrates as well, while listening for abnormal sounds coming from the pump or pipes that can also indicate a problem.
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Do well pumps need to be serviced?
Your pump should be inspected and tested for functionality every year to ensure that all parts are in good working order. If a problem is emerging, your yearly maintenance checkup will detect it and address it before it becomes too expensive.
What happens to an unused well?
Wells that are no longer used may be buried or forgotten. Often they have not been sealed properly. Sealing is the process of clearing an unused well of debris and filling the well with a special material called grout. The sealing must be done by a licensed contractor.
What is a good well report?
Well Completion Reports contain information collected by drilling contractors during the drilling and construction of water wells, including the location, dates of construction, planned use, depth of the well, subsurface geologic units encountered, well construction, and well yield.