Not disinfecting well water is a gamble. I recently read an article published by The New York Times, reviewing and highlighting the marvelous investments The City of New York makes, to ensure the millions of people they serve each day have safe drinking water. From treatment to distribution, the methods used by the city of New York are beyond impressive, and New York is not the only major city making these efforts. But it has left me asking a question. Why do municipalities continually invest in water treatment, yet the average home owner doesn’t?
The continual monitoring and surveying of water quality done by these municipal corporations tells them that the source water feeding these urban populations is not as safe as you may think. At the very least, it has the potential to not be safe. Yet there are millions of people whose private wells draw water from the same or similar sources as these urban centres, and they do nothing to treat their water. Seems like quite a gamble, no?
Having a private water source has its benefits, without question; reduced annual utility costs is probably the most significant. One of the drawbacks, though, is that ownership of water safety, which a municipality would otherwise provide, is transferred to you. It’s your responsibility to ensure that the water you’re serving to your family and friends is safe. Of course, you can decide whether or not those risks are was worth taking. I would challenge you by pointing out that a local municipality employs, in some instances, thousands of incredibly knowledgeable and qualified individuals to understand and treat that water.
In the United States, approximately 23% of ground water sources tested showed contamination that exceeded at least one health-based parameter, including microbial contamination, (coliform/ E.coli) which was detected in one-third of private wells. That means one in three wells has some form of contamination. If those same tests were done on every private water source, multiple times in a year, watch out! And did you know that the costs associated with treating people suffering from water borne illnesses are staggering? In the US, the costs exceed $500 million* annually.
Doing nothing to treat private source water is a gamble, period. But it is really no one’s fault we have been so unconcerned up until now. Almost all potentially dangerous microbiological contaminants are undetectable without a test, because you can’t see, smell, or taste them in your water. Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you.
Those contaminants exist, they’re real, and the odds are that they’re in your water. It’s certainly discouraging that we can no longer trust most source waters, but it is an unfortunate reality of the times. Like the Big Apple, we have the responsibility to understand and treat our water, and to make sure that what comes out of our taps is safe. Implementing a small scale well water disinfection system, like an ultraviolet system, as part of your complete water treatment system is always a safe investment… unless you like to gamble.
Take the first step and learn more about well water testing by downloading this free e-brochure.
VIQUA Business Development Manager , Projects & Regulated Markets
*This includes illness as a result of drinking water, recreational water and water aerosols.