Well Water Test Came Back ‘Unsafe’ – Now What?

Well Water Test | Waukesha WI | Schoenwalder Plumbing
Don’t wait until you see obvious signs there’s a problem with your well water – get a water test annually.

When you draw your home’s drinking water from a private well, an annual well water test is a common practice. It’s definitely nothing to take for granted in Waukesha WI or anywhere in the Lake Country. It is easy for homeowners to get complacent, after all “you’ve always had a good test,’ right? Even after years of positive tests, your water quality can change through no fault of your own. National surveys show fewer than 16% of homeowners with private wells have their water tested every year. Most wait until they notice a change don’t be “that guy” and call your plumber in Waukesha. Is it worth risking your family’s health to test drinking water only when it “goes bad?” If your water changes color, tastes or smells bad, testing is an obvious solution. But by then it may be too late – and correcting the situation may be far more expensive.

Most “red flags” are for coliform bacteria in the water. On its own, coliform is bad. In addition, it’s an indicator that something more serious could be contaminating your water as well. Or you might be the victim of a “false positive.” Bad reports are often because of poor homeowner sampling techniques. Little things make a difference. Reasons for incorrect findings include:

  • Taking the sample for testing with dirty hands.
  • Using a dirty sample bottle– Setting the bottle cap on a dirty surface is a risk; tests for bacteria are very sensitive.
  • Testing from a dirty faucet– taking water from a dirty or leaking tap.
  • Using a faucet with plastic parts– plastic is a great host for bacteria.
  • Sampling from faucet with aerator– bacteria get trapped in the mesh and get into water from this outside source.
  • Never sample from a garden hose – hoses are magnets for bacteria.

Make A Well Water Test A High Priority

In the age of health scares and pandemics, high-quality drinking water should always be a top priority. If you feel you’re behind the curve and have let your testing slide, call a state-certified water well tester. If you want help in making the decision and knowing what to look for, check out the Wisconsin Plan a guide for homeowners with private wells. The state has established regulations on well construction, record-keeping and maintenance but no rules requiring testing or a well water sampling. Keeping your home’s water safe is up to you – so don’t take it for granted.

Your private water well system is complicated. There are more moving parts than you know. Providing clean water for drinking, cooking and bathing requires the entire system to aligned and working properly. In addition to pipes, faucets and fixtures there are pumps, fittings and specialized tanks. If your test results came back “unsafe” as a do-it-yourselfer chances are you don’t know where to begin in the search for “why?” And, why should you? At this point it’s the job of trained, certified and licensed professionals. These skill professionals will explore potential causes including:

  • A bad pressure tank
  • An underground pressure tank with a pinhole leak
  • A tank’s bladder or diaphragm leaks
  • Lateral lines are broken or leaking
  • A bad weld in a line
  • A cracked well casing
  • The well casing is too close to the ground – a mower can blast debris into the system if it isn’t at least a foot above the ground
  • A broken well cap – cracks allow insects, dirt and debris into the well
  • The well cap is missing – have you seen an old pail or can used to replace a missing cap?
  • A faulty backflow preventer – or none at all
  • Frayed electrical connections contributing to bacteria growth

Tap All Your Well Water Test Resources

Well Water Test | Waukesha WI | Schoenwalder Plumbing
You expect fresh, clean water every time your turn on a tap, right?

When you get back a failing grade on your well water test, don’t panic. The solution may be as simple as a good cleaning, shocking and chlorination. The “BAD” report should be a wake up call. Routine maintenance is your responsibility. Sure, it’s another chore, but keeping family and pets safe is worth it, isn’t it?

If it gets to be too much, call in the professionals from Schoenwalder Plumbing. Our licensed, certified plumbers are ready to step in and handle everything from routine maintenance to repairs and replacements. Getting your system back to where it receives only top marks means more than safe water. It means peace of mind for the whole family. That’s worth effort, right?

Not convinced that all the extra effort is worth it? For a detailed explanation of why water well sampling is important to your family health, review the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) guidelines and resources.

When you water doesn’t meet the standard, or you’re not sure, call Schoenwalder Plumbing at 262-542-7908 and make an appointment to discuss the solutions we have to offer. Count on Schoenwalder Plumbing for an accurate well water test anywhere in Waukesha WI and the Lake Country.

Troubleshooting Common Well Water Problems

EPA – Potential Well Water Contaminants And Their Impacts

WI DNR – Test Your Private Well Water Annually


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