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Approximately 15% of the homes in the United States are supplied with potable water by a private well. These wells are not regulated by the EPA, nor are they inspected by the local state, county, or city officials generally. It is the owners responsibility to maintain both the working condition and water quality of their well.

In Colorado there are many homes on the western slope and in other remote areas that use a well for their potable water supply.

At Sherlock Homes Inspection and Appraisal, LLC we are certified to inspect wells and water quality as one of our ancillary services. With the unfortunate natural disasters currently affecting many Americans we wanted to remind private well owners of the importance of maintaining their wells and having them regularly tested and inspected.

The two most important factors in maintaining a wells operation and water quality are the well construction, and maintenance. Water quality should be tested annually by a certified lab or technician. The well and components should be inspected by a certified professional at a minimum of every three years.

Contamination of the well water can occur through many different means. Surface contamination, ground contamination, and flooding are just a few of the methods unwanted contaminates may enter our precious water.

I want to point out three very important steps in assuring proper operation and water quality in a private well after a flood.

Remember if your well is submerged by flood water it is very important to follow these steps:

1) DO NOT APPROACH THE WELL UNTIL:
– The flood waters have receeded.
– A licensed electrician has inspected and restored safe electrical service to the well.

2) Have the well and the components inspected by a certified well inspector / or have a licensed well contractor inspect and service the well and pump. The pump may need disassembly and cleaning to remove sediment from the flood.

3) Have the water tested by an EPA approved laboratory for quality. Flooding poses a high risk of contamination through both surface and ground water penetration to the well. It is very important to check the water quality after a flood. The flood waters can and usually do carry a host of health hazards including: bacteria, fesces, petroleum products, chemicals, hard metals ….

Adequate buffers around the well head should also be kept to prevent possible contamination. Here is a list of recommended minimum buffer zones for the most common surface threats here:

Minimum 50′ buffer:
– Septic Tanks
– Livestock Yards
– Silos
– Leach Fields

Minimum 100′ buffer:
– Petroleum Tanks
– Liquid Tight Tanks
– Manure Storage Bagged or Contained
– Pesticides and Fertilizer Applications
– Storage and Handling of Pesticides and Fertilizers

Minimum 250′ buffer:
– Manure Stacks

At Sherlock Homes Inspection and Appraisal, LLC we have Certified Professional Inspectors available to inspect and test your well and potable water. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a well and water quality test please feel free to call us @ 970.481.7977.

Further information can be found on the EPA website @

https://www.epa.gov/privatewells