Get to know your well… well

Posted on August 21, 2018

faucet for wells
According to the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association, more than 14-15% of all Canadians rely on private wells. At CARO, we want to continue our mission of keeping this world a healthy and safer place. We figured educating well owners on the best practices for well management would be very helpful. If all you need is a well test,Click here for list of products used for well and private water sources. There are many factors that can affect the quality of your well water, as well as many actions that can be done to prevent contamination.

    Groundwater can be contaminated in several ways:

  • spills on the ground; eg Fuel and pesticide spills
  • injection into the ground; eg septic leaching beds, disposal of waste into wells, contaminated surface water running into poorly constructed wells, poorly maintained wells, improperly plugged wells and back-siphoning from spray tanks into wells.
  • improper handling of industrial solvents and chemicals, e.g., varsol and wood preservatives
  • leakage from wastes, e.g., manure storages, wastewater, septic tanks and landfills
  • leaking underground and aboveground fuel storage tanks
  • movement of groundwater between contaminated and clean aquifers
  • overapplication of manure, commercial fertilizers or pesticides

    There are two categories for testing well water:

  • Bacteriological Testing
  • Chemical Testing

HealthLink BC recommends testing your private water source through independent laboratories (like us!). From this webpage , bacteriological testing is recommended to be done 2 or 3 times a year. Chemical testing is recommended to be done a minimum of once every five years. CARO offers an Essential Drinking Water Test Kit that covers all the necessary chemical and general properties associated with water quality.

Bacteriological Contaminants Tested

Total Coliforms
These include bacteria found in soil, surface water, and the intestinal tracts of animals. Finding total coliforms in a well may not mean that the water is unsafe to drink, but does indicate that the well may require improved sanitation or physical upgrades. Or the well may be subject to surface contamination.

Escherichia coli (E. coli)
E.coli originates in the intestinal tracts of animals. The presence of E. coli in your well water may mean fecal matter has entered the well. Fecal organisms cause stomach and intestinal illnesses, including diarrhea and nausea, and may even lead to death. Babies, children, elderly or people with immune deficiencies or other illnesses may be affected more severely.

Click here for the routine Bacteria in Water Test Kit.

Chemical Contaminants Tested

High levels of nitrates have been found in a number of wells throughout B.C. This usually occurs in areas where groundwater may be contaminated by surface activities such as agriculture or farming.

Since well water comes from underground, different metals in the soil and rock can leach into the water. Some metals, such as arsenic can have serious and long-term health effects if they are found in high amounts. Other metals such as lead and copper can also leach out of pipes and soldered joints. For some, but not all metals, you may notice taste, odor, or staining of fixtures.

Other chemicals
Chemicals found in well water can come from human activity and natural sources. Most naturally occurring chemicals are found in small quantities that are little or no risk to human health. For example, low levels of fluoride have dental benefits, but high levels can have a negative impact on the development of healthy bones and teeth in children.

If you know what to test, feel free to purchase the test on our CARO Store.

Sampling your well

Make sure to sample the water at the source of where you drink it. This is because you want to make sure contamination doesn’t occur inbetween the plumbing fixtures. For more information, visit our page on sampling instructions

The 5-Steps for a Test

process of a test

Knowing that you spent your day learning about wells, would you say your day was well spent?

Information was cited from, and


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