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Photograph of  this antiquated laundry sink with several unsanitary plumbing violations in view.Well Water Test Failure: When to Re-Test

  • FAILED WATER TESTS - WHEN to RE-TEST - CONTENTS: When a well fails a water test, under what conditions do we just re-test? When is re-testing a drinking water well useful and when is it a waste of time and money? What to do various high or low bacterial levels mean when a well fails a potability test?
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how, when, & why you should test (or wait to re-test) a failed water well after a bacteria or potability test
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Acting on Unsatisfactory or Contaminated Water Test Results - Advice for Home Buyers & Home Owners.

This article explains when it is useful to re-test a drinking water well after it has failed a bacteria test. We explain how to interpret and thus act on the results of water tests for various types of water contamination.

This series of articles explains many common water contamination tests for bacteria and other contaminants in water samples. We describe what to do about contaminated water, listing common corrective measures when water test results are unsatisfactory.



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Handling Failed Wells that Pass a Second Water Test: What to do if water passes after disinfection

We include water testing and water correction measures warnings for home owners and especially for home buyers when certain conditions are encountered, with advice about what to do when these circumstances are encountered. Various treatment methods for contaminated water are reviewed and the pros and cons of each are discussed.

Article Contents

When will shocking the well actually cure a problem?

When does well disinfection not work?

What's wrong with just re-shocking the well and relying on the next OK water test result?

What's the best course of action for a buyer of a home that fails a well water test?

When to re-test a well that has been shocked with chlorine bleach or some other disinfectant

To be maximally effective at attempting to disinfect a well, the chlorine solution needs to be in contact with the entire well casing and piping and water storage tank for 24 hours. Then the bleach-treated water is flushed from every fixture until there is no more bleach odor. A realtor/seller anxious to "pass" a bacteria test will try for an immediate re-test at that point.

WARNING: Wait. Don't re-test a well too soon. 

We suggest a minimum of five days, preferably seven to ten days before re-testing a shocked well. If there is a persistent source of bacterial contamination shocking the well won't fix anything.

The longer you wait before re-testing a well for potability, the more time you're giving for the bacteria to reappear at a level sufficient to be picked up in the next water test.

If circumstances force a too-quick follow-up bacteria test real to meet a estate closing date before adequate wait time has been allowed for re-testing to be more credible, we recommend that the parties agree to escrow the cost of a proper water treatment system ($5000. to $10,000) and to allow the new buyer 30 days to conduct follow-up testing. If at the end of that period the well is ok the escrow can be released.

Handling Failed Wells that Fail a Second Water Test Again: What to do if water fails a follow-up water test after well disinfection by Chlorination or Well Shocking

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Continue reading at WELL CHLORINATION SHOCKING PROCEDURE or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

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