Common Bacteria Found in Well Water

June 5, 2020

Are there bacteria in well water in Columbia, TN? Yes, and they can include two types of coliform bacteria: total coliform and fecal coliform, more commonly known as E. coli. Homeowners who are new to using wells and septic systems are often worried about water quality and whether their water is safe. Fortunately, most bacteria found in well water are harmless and do not affect taste or smell. Nevertheless, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still recommends annual testing to ensure safety. Here is an overview of what you need to know about bacteria in your well water.

Environmental elements

Bacteria is normally a product of your surrounding environment. Most of it comes from human or rodent waste, either due to an infestation near or inside your home or a leaking septic tank. Insects and other wildlife can also introduce bacteria to your well if they enter it.

If you live in an agricultural area, bacteria are also introduced in your well due to runoff from livestock, canine runs, and pastures—basically, any place where you are exposed to animal waste is at risk of well contamination. Even if the landowners are careful, heavy rain or a flood event can send that waste straight into your water supply. It is often a good idea to test your water when these circumstances occur.

Environmental elements also include those not introduced by animals. Lawn fertilizers are a common culprit, as is being downstream from your neighbor’s septic system. Sometimes, early home design is not thought out well, so your own septic system is located upstream from your well. If you live near a road that is salted during winter months or your neighbors dispose of chemicals and food waste in their yards, even small amounts can lead to contamination.

Other causes

Even if you offer the perfect environment for pure well water, there is a chance that the issue started with well installation. Well drillers or septic contractors may have introduced bacteria to your water during the installation. This is a time when water is most exposed to outdoor elements and bacteria, and a contractor overlooking safety precautions may give you a long-term bacteria problem. There is also a chance of wells being contaminated by airborne particles.

Bacteria are also passed into your well system through contaminated tools and fluids used for drilling. If the contractor recently worked at a site that was heavy with coliform bacteria, they may unintentionally introduce that to your well water when they install your pump.

The best way to avoid these methods of introducing bacteria is to chlorinate water used during drilling. Contractors should also chlorinate water before introducing it to the well. If the contractor uses water from a neighboring property, do not assume it is free of bacteria. Always insist on this step!

Contractors should disinfect their tools with chlorine before they start work. As they work on your site, tools should also be kept dry, clean and covered until the contractor requires them.

Bacteria found in well water in Columbia, TN can be an alarming development. Action Electric Motor & Pump Repair offers well service and repair in a thorough and sanitary manner. Hire us for all your well repair needs if you wish to avoid asking whether there are bacteria in your well water.

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