Most people know that they need to take care of their vehicle or furnace to get optimal performance and make them last. But according to the National Ground Water Association, that same line of thinking should be applied to our water supply, especially those with private wells.
For the past three years, the National Ground Water Association has held "Protect Your Groundwater Day," aimed specifically at homeowners with private wells to educate them to take better care of those wells.
Nearly half of Carroll County's households are on private wells. While it's still important for those on public water systems to protect the sources of that water supply, it's doubly important as a well owner because you are your own manager of your water system.
There are no maintenance standards set by the state or county for well systems in Carroll, meaning it is up to the owner to get the wells tested and maintained. Yearly check-ups can prevent catastrophic and costly issues from happening down the road.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends homeowners with private wells test them annually for bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH levels using a state-certified laboratory. And any time contamination or tampering with a well is suspected, or if you notice a change in water taste, odor, color or clarity, the EPA recommends testing as well. The most common tests are for bacteria and nitrates, which are considered acute contaminants, meaning if you take a drink of water with that contaminant present, it could cause an immediate health concern.
Well owners should have their well tested by a professional. Doing it yourself can actually lead to a higher chance of contamination if you aren't sure what you are doing. However, simple things like checking to see if the well cap is in good condition and is secure, is something any homeowner can do. If you notice that it is cracked or loose, that could be an opening for bacterial contamination.
Getting your well tested regularly and when you notice a change in the water is not only smart to protect you and your family from any potential health risks, but could also save you a lot of money by catching possible problems before they get out of hand.