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Agriculture Today

Water well guidelines

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June 4, 2014 | 3,903 views | Post a comment


The keys to addressing well water quality problems are to determine what the problem is, whether it is preventable, and, if not, how to treat it effectively, the National Ground Water Association announced May 27.

The group’s Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens said there are basic steps well owners can follow to take the mystery out of solving water quality issues.

“The answer to water quality problems begins with water testing,” Treyens said.

The National Ground Water Association recommends that household water well owners test annually for bacteria, nitrate, and anything of local concern. Local contamination concerns could be manmade or substances that can occur naturally in the environment, such as arsenic and radon.

The organization suggests well owners check with their local health department to determine what might be of local concern. This is important even if the well owner is not experiencing any obvious water quality problems because some potentially harmful contaminants such as arsenic and radon have no odor, taste, or smell.

Next, Treyens said well owners should determine how substances that are causing water quality problems are getting into their water supply.

“If a contamination source is too close to the well, removing that contamination source may be the answer. If one of the well system’s seals is broken and allowing contamination into the well, fixing it may be the answer. And if the contamination is naturally occurring in the groundwater, treating the well water to make it safe is the solution,” Treyens said.

If contamination can be kept out of the groundwater or the well system, it is preferable to address that first. Treyens compared this to a doctor treating the cause of a patient’s illness instead of just the symptoms. But if a substance cannot be kept out of the groundwater that flows into a well, treatment is almost always feasible to address it.

The National Ground Water Association recommends that well owners use a qualified water well system professional to diagnose the cause of water quality problems and recommend solutions.

To learn more about water well and groundwater stewardship, visit

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