Category Archives for Well Water Contaminants

well water testing kits; scientific method to soften hard water

How To Select Well Water Testing Kits for Your Home Water Well

Is well water testing needed for your well?

Do you see stains, signs of corrosion or is there an odor to the water?

Is a well water testing kit needed for your well?  If you use the water in your home for bathing, washing or drinking, it is recommended.  Do you see stains, signs of corrosion or is there an odor to the water?   Well water testing is critical especially if your family depends on your well for household water needs.

well water testing : chemicals in agricultural landsWell water testing is something that a lot of homeowners, who have their own private water wells, are thinking about these days.

According to a new Gallup poll, 63 percent of respondents said they worried “a great deal” about pollution of drinking water, while 57 percent of overall respondents also said they were concerned about water pollution.

Over 15 million U.S. households (approximately 15 percent of Americans) rely on their water wells for drinking water. Private water wells should be protected from contamination. Fertilizers and pesticides from nearby farms and gardens can find their way into groundwater supply over time. Toxic substances from mining sites, landfills,

Fertilizers and pesticides from nearby farms and gardens can find their way into groundwater supply over time. Toxic substances from mining sites, landfills, and even used motor oil can also seep into groundwater. It is also possible for septic tank wastes to leach into the ground and contaminate the water you draw from your well.

well water contaminationSources of  Well Water Contamination

If contaminated groundwater is consumed, it could cause illness. Septic tank waste can cause hepatitis and dysentery. Toxins can poison both humans and animals. Long-term effects of prolonged exposure to polluted water include cancer and organ failure.

Ground water contamination can come from many sources, including:

  • Seepage through landfills
  • Failing septic tanks
  • Underground storage tanks
  • Fertilizers, pesticides,  and agricultural seepage in your area
  • Runoff from urban areas
  • Gas stations or manufacturing nearby

According to best practices recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local health agencies you should test your water at least once for serious threats and annually for some common problems.

Which Well Water Testing Kit To Use?

A general mineral analysis is a good place to start.  It will show immediately the level of minerals you have in your well water, if the water will be corrosive, or if the water will be scale forming in your pipes and fixtures. If you are seeing stains, sediment, or odor in your water this type of test is recommended as a good low cost option.

Test for:

  • Alkalinity
  • Copper
  • Hardness
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • pH
  • Sulfate
  • Total Dissolved Solids

Live Near a Gas Station, Agriculture, or Industrial Site?

well water testing kitIf you live near a service station, or your well is near a modern farm which uses chemicals, then a general mineral plus pesticide, herbicides, and heavy metals are recommended.  One (relatively) low-cost way to go is to use a WaterCheck Test Kit.

The kit includes the WaterCheck Test Kit with ice freeze pack and test bottles. Note that once you take the water samples, the samples and chill pack (chill pack is included) must be sent by overnight express service (USPS, FEDX or UPS) to the lab in Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197. This can cost between $45 to $100 depending on where you live and is not included in our low upfront cost.

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks to get back the results. This certified lab test is a great bargain, but it does take some time to get the results back from the lab! After the test is complete you will be emailed a copy and also sent a hard copy by mail. We also provide expert interpretation of the report if you have any questions.

Professional EPA-certified laboratory results can now be yours for a fraction of the cost of regular laboratory testing. This 103 parameter test offers a broad spectrum drinking water analysis including:

  • bacteria
  • metals
  • other inorganics
  • volatile organics
  • pesticides
  • herbicides
  • PCB’s

 

Consider testing your well for pesticides, organic chemicals, and heavy metals before you use a new well for the first time. Test private water supplies annually for nitrate and coliform bacteria to detect contamination problems early.

Test your well more frequently if you suspect a problem. Be aware of activities in your neighborhood that may affect the water quality of your well, especially if you live in an area with septic tanks.

See also: Well Water Test Kits

well water testing- Reasons for well water testing

 

faucet well water testing

Water Contaminated with Nickel

There are currently many contaminants that contribute to the impurity of our water. Due to the deterioration of the environment and the rampant usage of chemicals and metals in our industrialized world, it is difficult to keep our drinking water safe from toxins.

One of the water contaminants we have today is Nickel. Nickel is a type of metal that is present all around us. It is often used in coins, in making stainless steel and alloys, welding products and electronics. Nickel is used extensively. In fact, 8% of nickel is used in household appliances. It is also present in some tablets and other medications, but only in a very small amount.

Nickel is a popular element that we use widely. The reason for this is mainly because of its hardness, strength and its capacity to withstand heat and corrosive elements.

At times, it can find its way to your water supply. There are two main ways that explain the contamination of nickel in your household’s water supply. First, it could be because nickel present in your pipes and fixtures has leaked into your water and is being carried along into your household. Second, nickel from rocks under the ground may have started dissolving over time and trickling its way into your water source and eventually, into your system.

Nickel is necessary for the human body. Our body requires a certain amount of nickel. Despite that, however, the ingestion of nickel in more than the necessary amount can have certain health hazards. Long-time exposure to nickel can also cause various health problems.

Health Hazards Associated with Nickel Exposure

If you ingest water with a high concentration of nickel, chances are you will exhibit symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, shortness of breath and headache. Research shows that people who have ingested nickel also show symptoms of abnormalities in the kidneys.

Aside from the symptoms and conditions mentioned above, nickel usually causes skin irritation. Most of the people exposed to nickel develop allergic contact dermatitis. Studies also showed that acute exposure to nickel in extremely high concentrations can be deadly. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of is also linked to cancer.

Getting Rid of Nickel

Despite the fact that nickel contamination is not widespread in groundwater in the U.S., if a huge concentration of it is found in your water, you should be alarmed. There is a way to safeguard your household from nickel contamination along with other contaminants. For Nickel, the installation of a reverse osmosis water treatment system is highly recommended by water experts.

Reverse Osmosis systems remove impurities from your water. These impurities can include chlorine, odors, metals, salt, sediments and other sediments. RO systems pass water through a thin membrane that separates water and the impurities that contaminated it. It’s the exact system you need to get rid of nickel present in your water. Reverse osmosis systems are easy to install and does not demand too much maintenance. The filters of the RO systems require changing once a year. The membrane should be changed within three to five years but other than that, RO systems will provide your household with purified, safe water without the hassle.

Lead Contaminating Your Drinking Water

Lead in drinking water is bad of course, its toxic. Lead is one of the most common elements on earth. In fact, there’s 13mg of lead in every kilogram of the earth’s crust! Lead is useful in things that are essential to our daily living. It is used as main ingredients in making some kinds of batteries, alloys, ammunition, rust inhibitors, sheaths for cable and many other things. Read More

Turbidity: An Easy Check Using Well water Test Kit

Turbidity : An Easy Check Using Well water Test Kit

What is turbidity?

Turbidity is an optical characteristic of water that is defined as the degree of cloudiness. More specifically, the level of turbidity can describe the effectiveness of a filtration system installation or the basic level of your water quality. The particles can include clay, silt, algae, and microbes.turbidity, well water test kit

Turbidity in your drinking water is not only aesthetically displeasing, but also can be a sign of overactive harmful microorganism activity.

Where does it come from and why is it bad?

Turbidity is the result of soil and urban runoff, waste discharge, and excessive algal growth, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Higher turbidity means there is a higher concentration of suspended particles, which absorb heat. With higher amounts of suspended particles, the temperature of the water ultimately increases.

Elevated water temperature can create a breeding ground for bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Turbid water can promote the growth of micro-habitats for such microorganisms. For this reason, high turbidity water in many studies has shown to be correlated with outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

These particles clog up pipes and water treatment systems, so generally, filtration is the last step in the treatment process for this kind of water issue.

Many treatments exist for getting rid of high turbidity, but most rely on injecting a substance that will coagulate the suspended particles into larger clumps.

Alum is the most commonly used coagulant. Although, chlorine or hydrogen peroxide injection can also precede filtration.  The newly formed clumps can then be filtered out of solution using a sediment filter or a Reverse Osmosis system.

 

 

Sources: US Environmental Protection Agency: Water Monitoring & Assessment, USGS Water Science School


Copper and Your Well Water: Part 2 of 2

In this next post, we will look at what you can do to stop copper corrosion from happening in your pipes. Once corrosion occurs,  ions in the copper can easily dissolve into solution with ions in the water. Oxygen in the water rusts, or oxidizes, the copper which turn it a blue-green color.

First, it is important to determine the source of the corrosion if you think it may be occurring.

Three Tests for Copper Corrosion

1. Test the pH of your water. An ideal pH is between 7.2-8.0.

2. Check to make sure unnecessary electrical connections or appliances are not attached to your system piping. In addition, make sure there is electrical continuity throughout the system. The piping should also be properly grounded in the earth.

3. Cut off portions of piping in the system to check for evidence of the type of corrosion happening. It is also important to look out for signs of poor craftsmanship in the copper piping. Affected areas should be replaced as soon as possible.

Problem: Low pH
Installing a calcite neutralizer will raise the alkalinity and the pH of your water to non-corrosive levels..

 

Problem: High Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)
Installing a reverse osmosis system for the whole house will filter dissolved ions out of solution that could be slowly eating away at your piping.

 

Problem: Bacteria and/or Sulfur odors
The water needs to be chlorinated or disinfected ozone treatment before it enters your household pipes.

A good, general, preventative strategy for protecting your piping against corrosion is to install a phosphate feeder. When Phosphate is fed into the system, it adds an insulating coating to the inside walls of the pipes. This strategy works best if the water has an intermediate hardness of 3-5 grains per gallon (or 50-100 mg/L).


Copper and Your Well Water: Part 1 of 2

Copper : part 1 of 2 parts

Blue-Green Water!

Copper is an essential nutrient that your body needs to distribute oxygen to the rest of the body. However, at elevated concentration levels, copper may pose health risks and plumbing problems. DCP_0093

Copper is rarely naturally occurring in water, but can enter drinking water through corroded well and pipe systems. It usually presents itself with blue-green stains on household appliances. It will also likely taste metallic and bitter.Read More

Coliform Bacteria Testing At Home: The Do’s and The Don’ts

Health authorities strongly recommend annual coliform bacteria testing for private water wells as contamination can occur without any change in taste or odor to the water. Depending on your needs, there are many options available for coliform bacteria testing, ranging from testing yourself at home to EPA-certified, lab quality testing.

There are many ways that well water can become contaminated by coliform bacteria, so it is most important to test:

  • Once a year for all private residential water wells
  • After a new well has been constructed
  • After recent work has been done on the well
  • If you suspect or see any indication that contamination has occurred due to interaction with flood water

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Arsenic and Your Well Water: Part 3 of 3

Source: www.periodtable.com

Source: www.periodtable.com

Last post we discussed the potential health effects of arsenic exposure. This week, we will focus on how to treat an arsenic problem in your water.

Once your arsenic levels are tested, the degree of the cleanup job must be assessed.

How can you reduce high levels of arsenic in water?

If the arsenic level in your water is at or above 10 µg/L, refrain from consumption such as drinking or cooking.

There are two strategies to remove a contaminant from the water you use:Read More

Arsenic and Your Well Water: Part 2 of 3

Arsenic, part 2

Dangers of Arsenic Exposure

Unfortunately, arsenic is very difficult to detect. It is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. For this reason, people can be easily and unknowingly be exposed to high levels of arsenic in their water.

As discussed in Part 1 of this series of blog posts, food is a large source of arsenic into our bodies. Apples, poultry,  mushrooms, rice, and rice cereal all can accumulate high concentrations of the contaminant. Not only are these foods staples in the diets of many across the world, they are also especially crucial in the diets of young children.

However, the dose determines the poison. We breathe, consume, and digest small amounts of arsenic every day.

How the body absorbs, processes, and disposes of the chemical are important considerations in determining how a contaminant affects the body. Organic arsenic  flushes through the system within several days, while small amounts of inorganic arsenic after ingestion can remain processing in the body for several months. Inorganic and organic arsenic both exit the body through urine.

arsenic sites, Map of arsenic in groundwater of the US

Arsenic in groundwater in the United States.

Symptoms of arsenic poisoning range from nausea, vomiting, fatigue, diminished nerve function particularly in the hands and feet. Cases of long term exposure are most noted by darkened skin spots and the development of warts on the surface of the skin. From the severe disruption of the skin’s normal biological defenses, different types of cancer can develop.

The western US, the midwest, and certain localities in Texas have been found to have elevated levels of arsenic in the drinking water. Arsenic levels were taken by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at each of 31,350 wells across the country, represented each by a point on this map.

How To Tell If Arsenic Is In Your Well Water

If you or your community relies heavily on private wells for drinking and cooking water, it is crucial to consistently get the arsenic levels tested in your wells. A lab test is the most reliable method of quantifying the contaminant.

Arsenic part 2 -- testing, General Clean Water test from Clean Water Store

General Clean Water test from Clean Water Store.

Though the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) set by the EPA is 10 ppm, the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for arsenic is 0 ppm. Both of these concentrations refer to total arsenic, organic and inorganic.

Testing is likely available through your state’s drinking water agency. In addition, Clean Water Stores has certified arsenic test kits available that are easy to do at home and reliable.

For more information, the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry creates Public Health Statements for known environmental contaminants, including arsenic.

Part 3 of our series on Arsenic will come out next week. It will address how arsenic in wells can be treated! Stay tuned for remediation protocols for this serious water health issue on the CWS blog.


 


Arsenic and Your Well Water: Part 1 of 3

 Arsenic stone

Source: www.periodtable.com

Arsenic is a natural element that is commonly found in water, air, soils and plants and animals. Agricultural and industrial sources can also release arsenic into the environment.

It is can be found in two different forms:

  • Inorganic –  these inorganic compounds form from the interaction with oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur, usually found in building products, industrial effluent, and in fresh water exposed to these point sources. This form is considered the more toxic form, as it has been linked with the development of certain cancers.
  • Organic – This is the much less toxic form. It  is commonly used in pesticides and found in certain organisms, particularly fish and shellfish who accumulate it in their tissues.

pure water, no arsenic

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