One of the comments that I often hear from farmers is “My well water is good.” My response is simply, “how do you know that it’s good?” Because it looks clear and tastes good? Or perhaps the State has come by and tested the well and told you that it’s good.
A little “Water 101” is needed. Here’s what you need to understand about your well water…
1) If your water comes from a private well you are completely on your own. The EPA Safe Drinking Water Act does not apply to you. You are responsible for ensuring that your water is safe.
2) Your State may offer some limited testing of your well, but this usually involves testing for bacteria and sometimes for nitrates. These tests are very limited though. If you pass these tests, that doesn’t mean that your water is safe to drink.
3) A possible problem with well water is what is called “chemigration” in which nitrates and pesticides are applied with center-pivot irrigation. When a check-valve fails these chemicals can flow backwards and contaminate the well.
4) Well water is typically high in inorganic contaminants. Some of these contaminants may not be dangerous, but others such as nitrates and arsenic can be dangerous and can be found in high levels in well water. Nitrates and arsenic have both been linked to many forms of cancer.
5) There have been a number of cases where surprisingly toxic chemicals have been found in groundwater. A big problem in groundwater around Grand Island, Nebraska is RDX, a military explosive from World War II!
6) You should send a water sample away to a laboratory once per year to get it tested for a full range of contaminants. We recommend the Watercheck™ Kit by National Testing Laboratories (click here). They have a number of different test options that start at about $110. Remember though, that there is no test that can give you the full picture of what’s in the water.
7) The single best way that you can protect your family is to invest in a premium Pure Water distiller. Our water distillers use the process of distillation, which is much more effective than filters, reverse osmosis systems or other purification methods.