If you have a private well, you probably know that you should test the water annually for signs of pollutants that could harm your family's health. However, you should also be on the lookout throughout the year for any signs that a problem might be developing. Here are some of the more common contaminants found in drinking water and the signs that will help you identify them:
- Bacteria: E. coli and other bacteria associated with fecal matter can get into your drinking water if it becomes contaminated by sewage. There are no visible signs of bacterial contamination, but recurring gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and abdominal cramps, among several family members can indicate its presence.
- Copper: This bitter-tasting metal causes bluish-green stains on sinks and tubs and causes water to appear cloudy. In the short term, the only negative effects are stomach cramps, but in the long term, copper contamination can lead to liver and kidney damage.
- Lead: If any of the pipes in your home contain lead and begin to corrode into your water, you will have serious health problems on your hands, especially if there are pregnant women or young children in your household. Lead poisoning can cause damage to the brain, nervous system and blood cells, taking an especially heavy toll on young children, whose emotional and physical growth it can stunt for a lifetime.
- Nitrate and nitrite: These chemicals, found in many fertilizers, can seep into drinking water if they are used on a lawn that slopes downward toward the well. They pose relatively little danger to healthy adults, but in children and pregnant women it can cause a potentially fatal oxygen deficiency.
For professional testing of your private well, contact DC home inspectors Alban Inspections today.