Water Well Problems Can Be Greatly Reduced
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General Water Well Problems aren't usually as extreme as arsenic in water or dry well issues. There are plenty of serious well problems out there, but far more wells appear to have issues because they simply deteriorate over time due to lack of water well maintenance. I would say, this is the largest problem with water wells that I notice on a more daily basis. Most people have absolutely no idea that a well requires a little maintenance once in awhile
A lot of groundwater will have chemistry issues that causes the water to be less than suitable for domestic use... iron in well water is very common as is hard water, people call looking for hard water solutions all the time. Smelly well water is another one, well water odor can have your entire home smelling slightly like sewage or rotten eggs. Smelly well water odors can be especially offensive to visitors, the residence often get used to it and don't notice the foul odor at all.
This horrible odor can be due to Hydrogen Sulfide Gas known as H2S which can be year round or seasonal. It can also be due to a well that has not been cleaned for several years - in most cases never! Combine a bit of iron, with moderately hard water, a little manganese and a Heterotrophic Plate Count and you'll have a filthy well just a few short years after drilling it. You can install all the well water treatment systems you like... the well will still deteriorate as will your well water treatment system if you don't maintain your water well for extended periods of time.
What Is Growing In Your Well?
Many water well problems can easily be managed with well disinfection. Clean well water will make a huge difference for your entire water system. So often I'm called by a homeowner that has become very frustrated with their water quality, finally after several years they can't deal with it any longer. Many homes have such dirty tap water that the appliances, showers, toilets and sinks etc. are nearly ruined... even the well water treatment system has become fouled.
If a well has a high Heterotrophic Plate Count I will see plenty of indicators... there may not be Coliform bacteria present according to a well water test but a coliform test does not indicate the presence of a Heterotrophic Plate Count in your well water. While a Heterotrophic Plate Count does not indicate disease causing bacteria it does give us an overall picture of the general health of a well or water system.
This background bacteria has great sliming abilities... it's slimes up the well, the well pump, waterlines and well water treatment systems can get really bad in fact they often become breeding grounds for this bacteria.
The bacteria gets into everything... your bath towels smell sour - it can be pretty foul. Usually a front loading washer odor develops as front loading washers are deadly when used with slimy water because of the growth that incubates in machine's rubber boots/seals. Even disinfected water with organics present seem to be a problem for front loading washer odors. Even with HE (High-Energy) detergents I don't suggest front-loading machine be used on raw water, if a plate count starts colonizing in them the stench can be horrendous. You may soon be thinking that something has died in your basement!
After having had a good look at a home with water well problems... I will ask the homeowner if they're drinking the water? Often I'll be told they're running their well water through a Brita Filter that sits on the kitchen counter all day while turning into a science project! I believe that Brita filters are a cheap fix for not much of anything... let alone unsterilized water from a dirty unmaintained and possibly contaminated water well. There should be a visible warning on the label about this! They can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria.
I ask a lot of questions when I visit a home with water well problems... I've noticed over the years that wells with high Heterotrophic Plate Counts seem to possibly cause more ear and throat infections, I've been able to make this connection many times over the past 15 years. In fact I'm often expecting to have this information revealed, it seems to affect children and adults. These are all indicators that we should be paying attention to. Contaminated water may not kill you but it can certainly cause lots of health problems, most of us never seem to connect health issues with possibly a dirty well.
Invest A Little In Your Well To
Reduce Your Water Well Problems
If your well is a few years old and causing you some grief then you first need to consider well disinfection before you spend one dollar on a well water treatment system. I won't even run lab work unless I have cleaned-up the well first, it's a waste of money otherwise.
I have no idea how many times I've been called by a homeowner with well water problems. After a quick assessment I explain that their well water is not as bad as it appears but it's in it's current condition because the well has never been disinfected and properly flushed clean. The homeowner may look at me a little oddly then explain that their well was not too bad until a few years ago and has gradually become worst. And that's exactly what happens, a well deteriorates over time because they become fouled... if they are maintained on a somewhat regular basis this wouldn't occur with most wells although there are exceptions.
If you're having well water problems then a good well disinfection is the least expensive place for you to begin with your well. I've cleaned hundreds of wells over the years and once the process is completed many homeowners are amazed at the change in their well and water chemistry. Odors can disappear, staining can be greatly reduce, the water once again seems much fresher and clean! If you have sediment and particles in the well, you need to get them flushed out... why pump it into your home everyday? Sediment causes a lot of wear and tear.
Many people quickly come to the conclusion that well disinfection needs to be done on a much more regular basis and sometimes a well water treatment system is never required if the well is maintained you will not have as many water well problems, that's for sure.
I know this sort of goes against the grain a little, as everyone wants to solve your water well problems by selling you a $5,000 water treatment system. If this is what you experience then find someone else who's prepared to do a little work first. There's no point in putting filthy, slimy well water into a water conditioner or anything else really... start with cleaning the well then make a decision based on those results, you may be very pleasantly surprised.
I'm sorry, I will not teach people how to disinfect wells to resolve their water well problems. It can be dangerous, you could be injured or cause damage if you don't know what you're doing. A well is not a hot tub! If you're having well water problems due to a dirty well then the chances are real good that you have not spent too much money on your well in a while anyway. Unless you really know what you are doing you shouldn't be messing with your well.
I know you can go to any public health office or even water lab and get written instructions on well shocking but while you're there ask the public health officer when they last disinfected and flushed a water well? My guess will be never, water well cleaning is not in their job descriptions. When you find someone who has cleaned a few hundred wells then you have someone who knows what they are doing.
People create far more water well problems by just dumping chlorine down their wells, then turning a tap on... does this really make any sense? There's a lot of knowledge required to do the job correctly... there can be some electrical issues, pump safety concerns, possible salt water intrusion concerns, chemical handling, proper flushing methods, recirculation, line flushing, well screens, it's a very long list and should be handled professionally or the results will be generally be less than satisfactory.
If you choose to hire a professional, I would even ask for a few references. If they just want to load your well with chemicals and then tell you to pump until the chlorine odor is gone, you need to make a few more phone calls. That not what you need, you can do that yourself. Hopefully you have a specialist in your area who will take care of your well properly. Also I tend to not do this type of work in the heat of the summer... over pumping a well during the hot summer months is not a good idea, some wells just can't handle it. I tend to do this work in the spring and late fall, always lean on the side of caution.
Please don't email me with questions on how to disinfect your own well, there's just too much liability involved. I can't help you out with that.
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The intention of this site is not to offer legal advice but general information and my personal opinion based on 15 years of hands on experience working in the Groundwater Industry. If you have any questions please feel free to Email Colleen