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What if a problem is detected?
If your water tests indicate the presence of a contaminant above the EPA's MCL or SMCL, you should first talk to your environmental health sanitarian who can help you determine the seriousness of the problem, suggest possible follow-up tests, and help you in choosing the most appropriate remedy. Depending upon the results of further testing, you could have four choices: (1) repair your well to better protect your water supply; (2) disinfect your water supply; (3) install a water treatment system; or (4) find a new water supply.
Repairing your well could be a remedy for problems with animal or human wastes, agricultural chemicals and other substances. The presence of bacteria, nitrates or other organic compounds in your well could mean that contaminants are entering your water supply via a space between the well casing and bore hole or an improperly sealed well cap.
Disinfecting the water supply usually is done if coliform is detected in your water well. It involves introducing a shock treatment of chlorine to your water well. Before employing this method, however, first contact your sanitarian for more information.
Home water treatment. There are a number of home water quality treatment methods available and the choice will depend upon your specific problem. Listed below are five of the most commonly used methods, the substances that they remove and problems associated with each.
|Specific organic chemicals including pesticide residues
|Bacteria may accumulate in filter if not used daily; high concentrations of contaminants may enter system if filter is old and not replaced.
|Trace amounts of metals, nitrates and many organic chemicals
|Removes beneficial minerals.
|Nitrate, sulfate, fluoride, and other negative charged atoms or molecules
|Most use chloride thereby increasing the chloride content of the water.
|Organic chemicals including most pesticides
|Does not remove 100% of chemicals; only 10-13% of water entering unit is recovered as treated water.
|Iron or sulfide producing bacteria, viruses
|Uses chlorination to disinfect. The potential exists for forming hazardous chlorinated organic chemicals when the chlorine reacts with organic molecules in groundwater.
Finding a new water supply could mean hooking into a community water system or drilling a new and deeper well. However, if these are not feasible, then another option is to purchase bottled water for your drinking water. If none of these options are feasible and the contaminants in your well water pose a serious health risk, then you should consult your local health department for assistance in identifying other alternatives.
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