Water can become contaminated easily. Regardless of whether your water comes from a private well or the municipal water supply, it all comes originally from the ground, the skies or rivers. Anything that humans add to the water or to the ground in the area will eventually enter the water supply. These are contaminants and water sample testing must be done to ensure that the water is safe.
We are a society that relies on things that potentially can harm our water. Salts, effluents, pesticides, gasoline, heavy metals, chemicals and waste products are consumed in abundance and we need to be constantly testing water quality. Contaminants come from sources in the area of the water table, such as landfill or waste disposal sites. Gas stations can be a potential contaminant source if the storage tanks begin to leak. Pesticides and fertilizers can leach into the ground from surrounding farms and put nitrates into the soil. Leaks and spills are an unexpected, but common method of contamination. Contaminants from septic tanks include bacteria, viruses, detergents and other chemicals. Many household wells are contaminated by common, everyday substances such as used motor oil, underground tanks, fertilizers, pesticides and livestock waste. Septic tanks are not monitored or studied by municipalities and, therefore, can be a cause for concern. Contamination problems are increasing because the number of toxins that are consumed is increasing. Water sample testing can tell you if there are any concerns.
If the area around your water source has changed lately, have it tested. Flooding over the well cap can bring in contaminants. Be concerned if you are close to nearby oil and gas well drillings or mining. However, an obvious environmental change may not be needed to contaminate the water. If you have a private well, it is s a good idea to be regularly testing water quality at least once per year, whether you have suspicions or not. Municipalities generally keep a very close eye on the water in their system, but if you have any suspicions or cause for doubt, AquaKnow has kits for testing water quality of the city-owned water from your faucet.
Naturally occurring substances found in the water should also appear in the results of a water quality test. These items include iron, sulphides, manganese and arsenic. In large quantities, these are also contaminants. Radon is a radioactive gas caused by radioactive decay of the uranium in the bedrock. Other gases such as methane can potentially become a contaminant.
A water quality test will tell you what items are in the water that is coming from your well and whether those items are present in trace amounts, acceptable amounts or dangerous amounts.
Take steps to prevent contaminants from entering the well in the first place and make sure that the water sample testing is done consistently to allow you to monitor any changes in the levels. If your well becomes contaminated, you must not drink the water unless it has boiled at a full roll for at least one minute. Another possibility for decontamination is to add a quarter teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water and allowing it to stand for thirty minutes. You should seek advice from the AquaKnow lab that completed your water quality test to help you determine how you should use the contaminated water. It may be safe for your laundry or for your showers, but never for drinking, brushing your teeth or using to prepare food for your family or pets.
To disinfect the well, you should also seek advice from the water quality test lab familiar with your test results. A well infected with bacteria can be cleaned with fresh bleach. The amount will vary depending on the depth of the well. Once you have followed the steps to clean out all necessary areas with bleach, you will need to allow it to rest for twelve hours before draining the well with a hose, pointing the water away from gardens or rivers. Once this has been done, another water quality test must be done before you begin to use the water normally again. If this does not work, you will need professional help to determine the next course.
AquaKnow offers water sample testing kits for well water and for municipal water. A basic kit tests for all of the most likely contaminants, but there are other test kits that may meet a more precise need. These packages are specifically targeted, and then analyzed in a qualified laboratory. Testing is the only sure way of knowing whether the water is contaminated.