Well water treatment for bacteria is one of the few things in life that should never be put off for later. The need to treat bacteria-infested water—whether it’s from a well or some other source—cannot be stressed enough. Bacteria, microscopic organisms you can find in just about everything, are mostly harmless but certain types that can cause potentially fatal diseases do exist.

There are other types too that don’t cause diseases but clog pipes and pumps, affecting household as well as irrigation wells in the process. Some types also leave stains and odor. Wells that are used as sources of drinking water must be tested annually or biannually to see whether they harbor coli form and other types of bacteria. Other parameters for water quality must also be set.

Public Vs Private Wells

Bacteria don’t care whether the well is for public or private use—they will attack it and render it dirty. Public drinking water supplies are, as required by law, to be completely free from all sorts of microbial pathogens. On the other hand, private drinking water supplies are not regulated by the government. Therefore, if you own a private well, also known as a household well, then the responsibility to keep it bacteria-free rests on you.

In order to achieve this, it is imperative that you inspect your well on a regular basis and get a water sample every one or two years. Do take note that certain conditions require you to perform testing more frequently, such as when your well has been flooded or inundated, your septic system fails to function normally or has a known history of bacterial pollution, your well is situated near feed yards or abandoned water sources, or when family members and guests have complained of intestinal distress.

If you fail to perform well water treatment for bacteria, the harmful organisms in your well could multiply, even mutate, and introduce deadly protozoa such as Giardia or Cryptosporidium into your system.

Tests and Results

An important aspect of the water treatment is testing the water correctly. Simply collect a water sample from a faucet in your house that’s nearest to the well; make sure the aerator is removed. If you also have an in-house water system or a tank, you might want to collect water samples from them too. To do it right, open the faucet and let it run for three minutes. Then, slowly close the faucet so that all you have now is a trickle, which you should let run for another full minute.

Don’t touch the inside of the container where you plan to keep the water sample. Label the container with your name, address, and time and date of sampling. Store the container in a cool and dry place, and make sure you get it to the lab before 24 hours expire. There are different possible results. If tests show that the water sample contains one coliform organism in every 100 millimeter, water from your well is unsafe for drinking. Well water treatment for bacteria may then begin.