Anywhere throughout the USA, for a home to have water in the faucet when we turn it on, there has to be a source of that water to come from. In larger municipalities, water is supplied from a series of wells, or perhaps a large body of water that is connected to a larger system whereby the water is routinely filtered, treated and tested. I personally have never really liked “city water” because I don’t like the taste. Sometimes one can smell the chlorine in the water and if I wanted to drink pool water, I would.
When a home is not part of a larger community – there may be a private or a shared well. It is important to know that here in Missouri, unless there are 8 or more full time residents on that well, that well and its members are not required to routinely inspect and test the water supply. When purchasing a home with a shared well, make sure there is a well agreement that states specifically who is responsible for inspecting and testing said well. It should state who pays for such routine maintenance and repairs when necessary. Should the well need to be replaced, who is in charge of overseeing that and again, who pays for it. To just assume the water is clean and safe because it easily flows from the tap is a mistake.
Depending on the type and depth of a well, it is a good idea to have the water tested after any large rain event that may allow contamination to enter the water source or the aquifer deep below the ground. Contaminants can enter the system in a variety of ways, so it is always best to test to assure your water is safe to drink and bathe in.
Here in Missouri, safe water falls under two jurisdictions. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Pillar Premier Inspections is educated and licensed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to inspect and to properly collect water for testing. We can recommend licensed, insured professionals who can correct any deficiencies found to assure your drinking water is safe and clean. The DNR requires any shared well with 8 or more full time residences to have an independent company hired to inspect monthly the water system and report directly to them. In areas like the Lake of the Ozarks, many communities with shared wells may not have 8 full time residences, but may have 8 homes on the system. This can be a concern for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is the ability of Coliform Bacteria to enter the system and contaminate all 8 homes. If just one resident is absent for a period of time, there is a supply of water holding steady within the system that is not being flushed through each day as if someone where there. This sets up the perfect environment for coliform bacteria to take hold from some other form of contamination. The same can be said for a private well with just one home on the system. There is a solution to this problem, but it gets more complicated the more homes within the system. That is a discussion for another day.
Whether independent or shared, the well system will have a pressure tank (or a series of pressure tanks) which help regulate the water from the pump into the system for even dispersal. Within the home you may find one or a combination of plumbing materials. Some homes have PVC pipes which are called “Schedule 40” , PEX, galvanized or copper pipes. Schedule 40 means it is rated to withstand pressures within a range of 40 psi. Often times a homeowner will increase their homes water pressure way too high not understanding that if there should ever be a leak, it will be a doozey when that water is pumping out 85 pounds of pressure per square inch! One can fill a basement up rather quickly at that rate. The pipes are not rated for such pressure and they have now increased the possibility of failure. With the terrain of the Ozarks, often homes are below the well head and tremendous “head pressure” needs to be reduced prior to being introduced into the homes system by the installation of a pressure reducer.
When we are inspecting a well – we will be looking to find the actual well head, make sure it meets the State and County minimum standards for water safety, is wired correctly, has the proper ventilation screens in place, is vermin proof, is the cap sealed properly, etc. We will check those electrical connections to be sure they are contained within a junction box, conduit, correct size wiring, etc., that is required for certain applications. We check the water pressure at idle and under a load to assure a decent water supply if everyone there on the fourth of July has enough water! We collect samples to test for e-coli and coliform bacteria routinely. Often time’s lenders will require additional testing for Nitrate and Nitrites which we can also collect samples for. Each test requires different collection methods to assure accuracy.
Let us help you determine if your water system is clean and safe. Give us a call and we would be delighted to help.
To learn more about Well and Septic inspections, contact our Pillar Premier Inspections today for more information. Call Right Now To Schedule: Lake of Ozarks – (573) 363-5511 or Springfield – (417) 893-0770
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