Private Well and Public Source
Water Filtration Systems
Approximately 23 million people in the U.S. get their water
directly from private wells, many without water filtration systems. Most wells tap an
underground aquifer (also known as ground water). Although ground water appears protected
from sources of contamination, it can become polluted from industrial spills, underground
fuel tank leaks, fertilizer, or wastes that seep into the ground. Ground sources can
migrate several miles, which means your well may be contaminated by an industrial facility
or farm miles "up gradient" from your home. Wells are also susceptible to
sediment contamination, so the water in your home may appear discolored or
"dirty." Even public treatment plants are not 100% effective.
For this reason, you should have your well tested annually.
To have it tested, call a local analysis laboratory. Lists of laboratories certified by
your state or EPA may be available from your state or local health department. Some local
health departments also test private wells for free.
Tests for contaminants such as nitrate and coliform bacteria
performed by a private laboratory usually cost between $10 and $20. Cost increases if you
ask the laboratory to test for other contaminants. Once the laboratory performs the tests,
it will mail you the results. You can compare the results to EPA's National Primary
Drinking Standards and National Secondary Drinking Standards to find out if your source
falls below levels EPA thinks are safe for certain contaminants.
A note of caution: a test will only tell you what is in the
source that day. Public treatment plant failures can occur intermittently, and pollutants
can be present in your water after these failures or after other events (e.g., after farm
fertilizing periods, heavy rains, or season changes).
People who use public sources are not immune from problems
If you need help choosing the right filter for your needs, or
want additional information, please call our Customer Service Department at (855) 855-1976.