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In conjunction with the upcoming Ground Water Awareness Week, March 16-22, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) encourages water well owners to schedule an annual well "checkup."
Water wells tapping our nation's vast ground water resources can provide a very high quality drinking and household-use water supply. More than 15 million households in the U.S. have their own water well. The owners of these wells have control of, and responsibility for, their water supply.
Like furnaces, chimneys and people, household-supply water wells need routine checkups to make sure they are operating at their best. Scheduling an annual well checkup conducted by a licensed and/or certified ground water contractor is one important step well owners can take to ensure the proper operation of the well, prolong its years of service and monitor water quality.
The checkup should include:
* A flow test to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).
* An inspection of well equipment to assure that it is sanitary and meets local code requirements.
* A test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates and anything else of local concern. Other typical additional tests are those for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance and odor. Changes in these constituents also may indicate changes in your well or local ground water. Additional tests may be recommended if water appears cloudy or oily, if bacterial growth is visible on fixtures, or water treatment devices are not working as they should. Check with your water well contractor, state department of natural resources or local health department for information on local water quality issues.
* A concise, clear, written report should be delivered to you following the checkup that explains results and recommendations and includes all laboratory and other test results.
Water well owners can locate NGWA-member contractors in or near their community through the contractor lookup service at www.wellowner.org , NGWA's consumer Web site, or by calling NGWA at (800) 551-7379. NGWA recommends that consumers check with other well owners or other knowledgeable people for contractor referrals and ask the contractor for a list of references. Consumers should then check with the contractor to make sure they will perform the maintenance check described.
In addition to ensuring the delivery of quality household water supplies, water well maintenance is important for protecting the integrity of valuable ground water resources. NGWA's annual Ground Water Awareness Week observance is designed to raise the profile of ground water as a vital natural resource that is increasingly important to ecosystems and human activity. For more information, visit www.wellowner.org . The site addresses many common consumer questions with free information on ground water resources and owning a private water well.