Approximately 13 million households rely on private wells for drinking water in the United States. (US Census 2017) Wells are one of the oldest methods of accessing water. They are still effective for pulling up drinkable water from aquifers under the ground. If connecting to a city's water treatment system is not an option, a well adequately supplies a household with the water.
However, just like with anything, there are potential risks with using a well. Most wells are located in rural areas, which also happen to be where most agricultural activities occur. Correlation does not equal causation, but seepage is a real concern. Animal waste, pesticides, fertilizers, and veterinary pharmaceuticals could be in the runoff water, which finds its way into groundwater, which is what supplies the well.
When a natural disaster strikes, there is lots to be concerned with, especially the repercussions of groundwater disturbances. Floods are the biggest culprit for disrupting wells but landslides, hurricanes, and earthquakes can also cause harm. Once it's time to assess the damage, check for contamination indicators in or around your well.
First and foremost, keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Before you ever go near your well, look for downed power lines or other sources of electricity. Do not touch water that is touching an electrical current. Electricity travels through water readily and can shock you, causing injury or death.
To avoid making a bad situation worse, do not use any water from a flooded well. Do not use it for drinking, cooking, cleaning, or bathing. There's a high likelihood of disease-causing pathogens in the flooded water. Wait until a professional is available to properly clean and disinfect your well. Make sure that clear water comes out of the pump.
What can you do to keep your water safe for drinking?
Test your well.
Every year check for coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels.
Inspect the well for cracked or damaged casing, broken or missing cap, and settling or cracking of surface seals.
Disinfect your well.
Use chlorine, ozone, ultra-violet light, and electronic radiation.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Check with your local health department or environmental agency to ensure activities and industry on or near your property are set at a safe distance from your well.
Slope the area around the well to drain surface runoff away from the well.
Use a Berkey!
Stop contaminants in their tracks. Even with extra care and precaution, there are remnants of bacteria, sediment, and chemicals that make their way into water pipes and faucets. The three components of Berkey's purification process are added assurance that those unwanted things are blocked. Either the molecules are too large to get through the filter's pore, the molecules become permanently, ionically bonded to the filter's media, or the composition of the molecule is changed through ion exchange.
Municipal water or well water, the water you drink should be safe. Berkey brings peace of mind to know what's in your water and thankfully what's out of your water.