This week, we’ll discuss three things to know about well water:
1. We’ve heard a lot about lead in drinking water in the last few years, but what you may not know is that it is incredibly rare for lead to be naturally found in groundwater. Instead, water that is either too low in pH and/or has other corrosive elements, is leaching lead from plumbing components. Water doesn’t have to be all that corrosive or acidic to leach metals from your plumbing either; it’s generally recommended that drinking water have a pH above 6.5 to prevent corrosion, which means regular rain water, for instance, is more than acidic enough to leach metals from your pipes! Now you may be thinking, ‘I don’t have an older home and I don’t have lead pipes, this shouldn’t be a concern for me.’ However, lead solder was allowed in homes until 1986, and “lead-free” brass fittings and fixtures could have up to 8% lead in them until 2014, when new regulations reduced the allowable level to 0.25%.
2. There are quite a few different sources of potential contaminants to drinking water; surface contaminants could be getting into your drinking water, especially if the well head or grouting is not well maintained, metals could be leached from your plumbing, sodium may be added from your water softener, and many contaminants come naturally from the groundwater if they aren’t addressed with treatment devices.
3. How often should you test your drinking water? Generally, it’s recommended to test for bacteria annually, and do more comprehensive tests every three years or so, including testing for pH, total dissolved solids and other local concerns. Testing is particularly important since some of the contaminants most detrimental to your health, like E. coli, nitrates, and lead, may be at high enough levels to cause serious health issues without you ever noticing a different smell, taste, or appearance.