Q. If my well tests positive for bacteria is this cause for alarm?
A. No – but it is cause for concern. There are some bacteria that can cause health problems, most however, are harmless. Coliform bacteria (while not harmful in itself), is used as an indicator that more harmful bacteria such as E. Coli may be present. If E. Coli is identified, this is cause for serious concern and you need to contact a licensed water well professional to determine the reason for the contamination, correct the problem and to disinfect your water well system and insure a safe drinking water supply.
A water test that provides a count of total bacteria present is recommended rather than a test that only indicates presence/absence of bacteria. IAGP recommends having your water tested annually.
Q. How often should my well be disinfected?
A. 1. Anytime a water test comes back positive for bacteria. 2. Any time your well is serviced such as when a pump is worked on, 3. Pressure tank or water heater is replaced. 4. Anytime your water well is subject to flood waters. 5. If immediate concern is in your neighborhood. Never forget that anytime you have any concerns of a possible bad water supply, disinfection is always the best idea.
Q. Can I disinfect my own well?
A. Yes – however it is not as easy as it may appear. Many do-it-yourselfers have caused serious damage to well casings, pitless adapters and/or pump housings because proper attention was not given to the corrosive reaction of the chlorine on well components. In many cases high voltage may be present in wiring by the well cap. Not to mention the potential health hazards related with vapors or skin and eye contact.
Q. Why is it that sometimes my water has an orange cast and sometimes smells like rotten eggs?
A. Many minerals such as iron are naturally occurring in groundwater and in themselves are safe, yet may be considered undesirable. There are numerous water treatment devices that you can ask your water well professional about.
If a well is not used daily (such as a summer home) running the faucets for a while may be all that is needed. Sulfur bacteria and iron sheen may adhere to the inside of your plumbing and needs to be flushed.
Q. If I hook up to city water, can I still keep my well?
A. That depends on local ordinances. Many communities allow continued use of a water well for irrigation once a property is on city water. To ensure the well is properly maintained, your community may require a special use permit for your well and an annual inspection.