With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment industry, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley.


What you Should know about Testing the Water from Your Well

While your well water may appear clean and clear, with no specific taste or odour, this does not necessarily mean that it is safe to drink. Whether your water supply is sourced from an artesian, surface or cased well, the water needs to be biologically of good quality and meet the standards and regulations for your municipality. The owners of individual wells, which serve usually less than twenty people, have the responsibility to ensure that the drinking water provided is safe for human consumption. This means that it is important that your well water is properly tested.

Portability Microbiological Pathogens In Water

Groundwater is more often than not of higher quality than the water found in lakes, streams and rivers. This is due to the fact that surface water sources do not have the benefit of the natural filtering of soil and rock. This said, groundwater may be vulnerable to contamination from microbiological pathogens. It is recommended that well water be tested a minimum of twice a year.

Generally, it is best to test your well in the spring and in the fall, however, you may need to perform supplementary tests if you notice any unusual changes in the appearance, taste or odour of the water. The potential health risks of these pathogens should not be underestimated. It is possible that your well water may be vulnerable to e-coli or enterococcus bacteria. These bacteria strains will commonly cause gastroenteritis or stomach problems, but in rare cases it could also cause meningitis or hepatitis.

Chemical Contaminants of Well Water

Bacteria is not the only potential hazard when assessing contaminated well water. Your water should be safe from hazardous chemicals as well. While there are fifteen minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride, iron, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, iodine and copper, silicon chromium, manganese, and boron), which are considered essential for human health, surplus amounts of these minerals can cause harm. Additionally, high mineral content in your water supply can result in grittiness or scale, rust stains and unpleasant odors among other issues. This cannot only compromise the aesthetic appearance and performance of your fixtures, fittings and plumbing, but make the water truly unpalatable.

The Long-Term Implications and Impact of Poor Quality Well Water

While you may notice in short order if your water is making you sick, you may not notice the long-term impact of contaminated well water. Initially, you may spot that your laundry has rust colored stains, which can actually be caused by excess minerals in your water, like iron. This may prove a frustrating nuisance at first, but over time, these minerals can accumulate in your plumbing fixtures and pipes and be more than an annoyance. Bad water can affect the water acidity and hardness, which can in turn compromise your pipes and may result in leaks, blockages or reduced water flow.

Mineral deposits can also accumulate inside your water using appliances such as washers, dishwashers or icemakers.  This build-up can reduce water flow and place additional strain on the appliance itself. This will not only reduce its effectiveness, but reduce the lifespan of the hardware.

Bottom line, it is important to ensure that your well water supply be not only potable, but actually free from excess minerals and chemicals.

It you are not sure about the quality of your well water or the level of contaminants in it,  contact your local water treatment professional and have it tested.  There are a wide variety of water filtration solutions on the market that will ensure that you have quality water coming into your home.