Photograph of  a loose, unsanitary well plumbing system exposed to surface water runoffr  © DJ Friedman How to Spot Contaminated Drinking Water in Household Wells

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This article gives you general information about drinking water from home wells (also considered private drinking water sources).

It describes types of activities in your area that can create threats to your water supply. It also describes problems to look for and offers maintenance suggestions. Sources for more information and help are also listed.

The original EPA version of this document has been edited, annotated, illustrated & expanded by InspectApedia editors & contributors. The initial document was EPA 816-K-02-003 January 2002. Edits, content addition, & web page design © 2013 InspectApedia.

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How Can we Spot Potential Well Water Contamination Problems?

The potential for pollution entering your well is affected by its placement and construction - how close is your well to potential sources of pollution? Local agricultural and industrial activities, your area's geology and climate also matter. This document includes a checklist to help you find potential problems with your well.

Take time to review it in the box labeled "Protecting Your Ground water Supply."

Because ground water contamination is usually localized, the best way to identify potential contaminants is to consult a local expert. For example, talk with a geologist at a local college or someone from a nearby public water system. They'll know about conditions in your area. (See item # 5)

[I have some other suggestions that have really paid off in the past when our clients were researching possible water contamination sources: Call water testing labs and home inspectors in your local area - these sources very often know about local pollutants. Talk to your neighbors - sometimes they know of very local problems or "events" that have contaminated nearby wells.

One of our clients was told by a neighbor that the local paper company had been dumping acetone and other chemical waste in a farmer's field right across the street from their well. We'd never have known to test for the particular chemicals involved had we not stumbled on this information - by asking. --DF]

[If you are buying a home, see Cheating on water tests: Testing Water for Real Estate Transactions - make sure your water test is valid ]

More Steps in Spotting & Protecting Wells from Water Contaminants or Pollutants

In the articles just below we describe the most common sources of well water contaminants.

For details on clues that can suggest water contamination problem, also see these non-EPA documents:

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Continue reading at WELL WATER TESTING STRATEGY or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.




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