Groundwater - The Changing Well

Posted by Jeff Wahl on 4/24/2018
Groundwater - The Changing Well
Perspective
The drilling of a well is a welcomed act for many people as it provides the necessity of water for their home or cottage. In Canada we are fortunate to have an abundance of groundwater that can provide a reliable, year round source of water for many municipalities and rural owners.

Provincial well regulations indicate what is required including the depth, well casing and well yield, recommendations for the pumping rate and pump size are given. Wellhead protection is completed to ensure that surface contaminants do not enter and proper disinfection procedures are performed.There is no debate over this process and regulations clearly spell out the process. Once the well tag is installed, records are given and water is flowing, the owner is left to their own responsibility for the well water quality.

Education
Drilled Well Cap Wahl WaterHow can an owner be sure that the water in their well is safe? The options include routine bacterial testing at the local public health unit for bacteria, water sampling with an accredited laboratory or sampling by a qualified water treatment professional. More recently there has been the advancement of “do it yourself” test kits available for purchase. All of the these are a snapshot of a specific time and not indicative of ongoing water quality.

Experience has shown that the costs for laboratory testing, inconvenience of collecting and delivering a water sample to the health unit or water treatment company often deters many people from doing it at all. This is amplified in rural areas where access is limited, time constraints and distances are increased to submit a sample. Often sampling is only conducted when there is a noticeable change in water quality or a real estate transaction occurs.

Consider the Example Analogy
5 drops of arsenic are deliberately placed in a water sample bottle prior to submission for water testing.
(This would be intentional and for the purpose of illustration only)

Sample taken to a Health Unit for Bacterial Testing.
It passes as no arsenic test was conducted.

Sample taken to an Accredited Laboratory.
Arsenic is detected as it was tested for.

Sample taken to a Water Treatment Company.

Tests for hardness, iron, sulphur, total dissolved solids, Ph and manganese do not detect arsenic as no arsenic test was conducted.

It is easy to replace arsenic with any contaminant that may enter a groundwater source and ultimately flow from a consumer’s tap. Even with “common testing” the contaminant may never be identified as it was never tested for. No water source remains in a “constant state” of quality without fluctuations due to seasonal changes, changes in the surrounding environment, human influences and changes in groundwater flow patterns.

Best Practice Recommendation

Given the vast uncertainty of any groundwater source over a calendar year, it is critical that a homeowner be given the information necessary to make an educated choice by a qualified source. The idea of “one test a year and my water is safe” is an antiquated one which does provide a snapshot of water quality but not of ongoing changes. The need for properly installed water treatment devices is no longer one of perceived need but one of necessity to ensure the safety of water for the consumer.


Volume 2 – Issue 3 Wahl H2O - Water Awareness
Copyright 2017 Jeff Wahl – Wahl Water | All Rights Reserved
Contact Jeff via email jeff@wahlwater.com

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