Bacteria In Your Well Water?

For many people, the word bacteria brings immediate images of disease and sickness. The good news is that not all bacteria are harmful. There are bacteria everywhere; in the air, in the soil, in your mouth, millions in a spoonful of yogurt; so what is the big deal about bacteria in your well? Read on.

"Drinking water quality should be a topic of great importance to all of America's 15 million private well owners," says American Ground Water Trust water specialist, Andrew Stone.

The Trust, a national non-profit public education organization, is often asked about ground water by the public. Frequent questions include:

If my well tests positive for bacteria is that cause for alarm?


Is it cause for concern?

Yes. There are some bacteria that can cause health problems. How-ever, most bacteria that might be found in a well are harmless.

What bacteria should I worry about?

If the E. Coli bacteria type is identified, there could be other more serious disease-causing problems in your water.

Could there be bacteria in any well?

Yes, but drilled wells that are constructed properly are much less likely to be affected than shallow large diameter wells.

Does a positive bacteria test mean the water is contaminated?

The word contamination should not really be used for harmless bacteria that occur naturally in soils and rock formations. How-ever, get your well fixed! The ideal (and usual) situation is to have a bacteria-free water well.

Can a well with bacteria be fixed?

Usually a well can be disinfected to remove all bacteria provided the cause is related to an isolated event, for example, a flood that brought dirty surface water in the top of the well. If the problem persists, and the bacteria type indicates the chance of harmful contamination, then you should seek advice from a licensed well contractor or the health department.

More information about well bacteria, water wells and ground water protection, is in the new "Well Owner Information Kit." It's available for $15 check/money order; ($16 credit card). Send check with order to Well Owner Information Kits, AGWT, PO Box 1796, Concord, New Hampshire 03302. For credit card orders call 603 228-5444 (9:00am to 4:00pm, weekdays, EST).

The Trust's local and national public education programs are supported by annual membership donations. (NAPSI)

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