Drinking water from private wells is at risk of contamination. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) estimate that in Ireland up to 30% of private wells may be contaminated occasionally with E. coli (an indicator of recent pollution by human or animal waste.)
With this in mind it is very important to get your well water tested to ensure the ongoing health and well being of people in the home. It is recommended that if you have a private well water supply that you get a full chemical and bacteria analysis carried out on your water to establish if the water in your home is safe to use for domestic purposes.
In fact the EPA state that ideally untreated well water should be tested once a year for bacteriological contamination, especially after heavy rain. It is important to remember that a test can only tell you about the quality of the water at the time of the test, the quality may change at different times. Well water can be contaminated in many ways including domestic wastewater systems overflows, septic tank overflows, spreading of slurry etc.
Additionally, well water should be tested for certain chemicals present in the water supply which originate from the land itself such as Iron and Manganese which dissolve into the water from rocks and soil.
Hardness is another problem that is present in many water supplies in Ireland. Water dissolves lime into itself as it passes through rocks and soil. Water which contains dissolved limestone is said to be “hard”. When this hard water is heated the lime reverts back to its solid state more commonly known as limescale causing scaling problems in kettles, showers, dishwashers, washing machines, immersion heaters, central heating, hot water pipes etc. Some areas of the country have very high levels of hardness.
A private water supply can also have a pH value that is high or low. A low pH can cause the water to be acidic. The water is said to be aggressive, that is, it will dissolve metals, especially soft metals like copper and lead. In turn this corrosion can cause leaks in the pipework and fittings in your house causing leaks.
The EPA recommend that you have your untreated well water analysed to establish the presence of chemicals every 3 years.
To establish if there any problems with your water supply, we can provide an analysis of the water on the following basis:-
|Hardness & pH||Free|
|Chemical (Hardness, Manganese, Iron, Ammonia, Nitrates, Nitrites, Conductivity, pH, & Total Dissolved Solids)||€60|
|Bacteria (Faecal & Total Coliforms)||€60|
|Chemical & Bacteria||€100|
A sterile bottle needs to be used for taking the sample which can be sent to you on request.
It is important to follow the instructions when taking and handling the water sample as this may affect the reliability of the results.
The type of treatment suitable for your water will depend on the results of the analysis undertaken. The following information will also assist in determining any works required:-
Do you get a build up of scale in the kettle?
If yes, what colour is the scale?
Do brown stains appear on white clothing when washed?
Does the water cause the copper cylinder to leak?
Do you get a taste from the water?
Do you get a smell from the water?
If yes, describe the smell
Do you have your own well?