Your Well Water
|Your well water was tested when the well
was installed for bacteria and nitrates, but it should still
be periodically disinfected. Your well water may be
contaminated by septic systems, animal feedlots, surface
runoff, and fertilizer. However, most wells are installed to
prevent this contamination by setbacks and other rules
governing the location of the well.
Safe water should have no coliform bacteria, reported as
either “<2.2 / 100ml” (less than 2.2 coliform organisms per
100 milliliters) in the multiple tube method, or “<1 /
100ml” in the membrane filter method. Nitrate-nitrogen
should be no more than 1 mg/1 (milligrams per liter). If the
presence of nitrate-nitrogen is not caused by infiltration
of sewage or surface drainage, the safe limit for infant
feeding is 10mg/1. If you are concerned about the quality of
your well water, contact your county health department. You
can also find water testing companies in your yellow pages,
as well as water testing kits online.
Wells should be disinfected at least once a year. We do ours
in the spring and the fall just to be safe. One indication
that your well needs disinfecting is if the water starts to
smell like rotten eggs.
To disinfect your well:
- Pump the well until the water is as
clear and free from sediment as possible.
- Mix a solution of household chlorine
bleach (1 cup bleach with 5.25 % available chlorine) to
5 gallons of clean water.
- Remove the well cap and pour the
solution into the well slowly so that it washes the
sides of the well casing. DO NOT ALLOW THE WATER TO COME
IN CONTACT WITH THE ELECTRICAL WIRES OR CASING FROM YOUR
PUMP! The pump or pumping equipment may also have to be
removed. We turn off the power to our pump and carefully
pour in the water so we don’t have to remove the pump.
- Open each faucet, tap, or hydrant in
the plumbing system one at a time, until the odor of the
chlorine bleach can be detected. Leave the chlorinated
water in the system at least 2hours, preferably
- The next day, use an outside water
faucet to run the water until you can no longer smell
the chlorine. Open each faucet, tap, or hydrant until
the water is free of chlorine odor.
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