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Approximately 15 percent of Americans get their household water from a private well, not a municipal water system. About 23 percent of these wells contain dangerous levels of contaminants. Some contaminants, like arsenic, come from natural geological sources, while others come from a homeowner's activities. Here are three household sources of well water contamination and how to keep your well safe.
Septic systems are on-site wastewater treatment systems. If you have one, the wastewater from your toilet, showers, and other drains collects in a large, underground tank. Solid waste sinks to the bottom of the tank, where it remains until the tank is pumped, while liquid waste flows out of the tank and into the surrounding ground, known as the drain field. The drain field filters out dangerous pathogens, and then the treated water is absorbed into the ground where it rejoins the groundwater that supplies your well.
This process is safe as long as your septic system is well maintained, but if the tank isn't well maintained, your groundwater could become contaminated. To avoid contaminating your well, make sure to do these things:
Pesticides are chemicals used to kill insects, weeds, and other unwanted pests, but these chemicals can also be dangerous to people, so you don't want them in your well water. When you spray pesticides on your lawn, the groundwater that supplies your well may be contaminated. Some people think that the soil would filter out pesticides and protect the groundwater, but studies have proven that this is just a myth. You should assume that any pesticides you spray on your property will find their way into your well water, leading to contamination.
To stay safe, try to minimize your use of pesticides, and if possible, convince your neighbors to do the same. Here are a few ways to minimize your reliance on pesticides:
In the quest for a healthy, green lawn, some homeowners misuse fertilizers and may inadvertently contaminate their groundwater. Fertilizers contain nitrogen, a nutrient that helps grow, but once in its nitrate form, it can easily leach down into the soil and contaminate your well water. This is a big problem because nitrate can cause serious health problems, particularly in babies. Babies who are exposed to nitrate-contaminated well water may lose their ability to use oxygen.
To keep your well water safe, you need to use fertilizers carefully. Here are some tips for doing this:
To keep your well water safe, keep your septic system well maintained and minimize your use of pesticides and fertilizers. If you think that your well may be contaminated or there seems to be an issue with the plumbing, contact a plumbing contractor like Blount's Speedy Rooter.