I’m buying a home and the well tested positive for Bacteria ????
One of the most common calls we get in the Northeast Water Wells office is that either during real estate transfer or during routine testing it was discovered that bacteria is present in the well. This sounds very scary and it is, its a serious problem that needs to be corrected however, its more common than not and in most cases easily treated. Many homeowners are completely unaware that the water system has bacteria present until routine water Quality testing or Real Estate Transfer testing is Completed.
To begin the most common types of bacteria found and tested in water wells is Total Coliform, E coli and/or Total Plate Count . The National Groundwater Association has a fantastic PDF regarding Bacteria in Well Water . With either type of bacteria present the first step in remediation would be to access possible contamination possibilities the most common are a compromised well seal, a buried well head, recent plumbing updates, improper sanitization of water well system post servicing or compromised check valves in the system. Often times especially during real estate transfer testing determine the source of the outbreak but in most cases a chlorination treatment or series of chlorination treatments will rid the system of these pesky bugs.
What does the term Chlorination treatment mean?
Depending on the water well contractor Water well chlorination may also be termed a Water Well Sanitization. The process involves a technician treating the water well and plumbing system with a measured volume of chlorine making sure the concentration reaches every point of exit and entry of water in the homes plumbing system. The water then has to sit for 24 to 48 contact hours and then be flushed from the well system and then the home. Once the chlorine has been entirely purged from the system a retest would be preformed to check the success of the treatment. In cases where the bacteria outbreak has been ongoing or where the water has a high mineral content it may be necessary to repeat the treatment to break through all the particulate built up in the system.
What if Chlorination doesn’t rid my well of bacteria ???
If chlorination is not successful expelling the Bacteria from the water well system and household plumbing than typically a UV light filtration system is considered. When water passes through the UV light filter the Bacteria is sterilized rendering it harmless and making the water safe for consumption. It is important to keep in mind that UV or Ultra Violet light filtration does require yearly replacement of bulbs to maintain control over bacteria in the system. Alternatively their are chemical feed systems that inject the water with Chlorine to sterilize bacteria but this has not been a preferred filtration method for bacteria residentially for quite some due to ongoing maintenance and risk of chemicals.
If you would like to learn more about bacteria in well water and treatment options for water wells located in Massachusetts and New Hampshire call today to speak with one of our qualified water well professionals.