Initial Test and Steps for a Newly drilled well

gbsim1May 3, 2012

Three weeks ago we finally had our well drilled! They hit 5gpm at 150' and then stopped at 200' where the flow was approx 15-20 gpm. The water has been brought to the house and is in the pressure tank but interior faucets aren't connected and there is no filter on at all yet.

I've been looking into where to send samples off for testing but today our plumber told me that when he was hooking up a drain in the bathtub (he was using a hose from the mechanical room), he noticed that the water was muddy.

Is 3 weeks enough time for the well to have stabilized or should I be calling the well driller? Do I need to flush lines more or shock the system before doing the testing?

Local testers charge 25.00 per individual test while the online places seem to be about 175-200 for package that is much more comprehensive. Is there any reason not to ship my samples away and save some money as long as I stick with an independent certified lab?

It would seem that with visible dirt in the water, I'd just be asking for a positive bacteria test if I hadn't shocked the lines.



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In order for you to occupy the house there should be at least a test for bacteria and nitrates and that's for potability. These tests should be repeated on an annual basis (at least) to make sure the water is safe and is staying safe. One of the negatives of living on a well.

Then you're looking at tests for hardness, iron, manganese, arsenic, PH, TDS, copper, sodium, and a number of other things before you decide if the water needs to be treated and for what and then how.

With visible dirt in the water you'll want to give the well a little time ESPECIALLY if you shocked the well. Shocking wells can sometimes treat the symptom and does not cure the disease. Bacteria can return after a while necessitating treatment for that and that treatment can be incorporated with other treatment for other things.

Check around with your local environmental heath department for a recommendation on local labs.

Samples for mail away labs need to be collected VERY carefully and some samples for specific tests don't travel well and may not provide accurate results.

If you can get comparable prices locally that's best especially since a local certified lab will be familiar with water conditions in the local area they serve.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 4:12PM
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and I'd add that it isn't just time that stabilizes your well. It needs to be "developed" adequately to pull the finer materials through the coarser materials right around the well and through the screen. If you have a lot of fines, some keep sneaking through, and have to settle out in a preliminary tank. But as new as your well is, I'd say it might need more pumping just to develop it.

You don't want to take your water samples until the fines have been flushed out. Your county health department will tell you what samples you need to collect and there are surely some local labs that are set up for the required analysis. Make sure their detection limits are what the county is asking for, too.

Labs at a distance should be fine except for the bacteriological analysis, which has a short holding time. You don't have to have all the tests done at the same lab, though-- you'll end up with different bottles for different suites of tests anyway. Usually you get a batch of metals for one price, I've never heard of paying for each one separately.

Wear clean latex or nitrile gloves and be careful about how you handle the caps where they'll touch the sample. It's not rocket science, just hygiene to keep from contaminating the sample. At 200 feet, I wouldn't think you'd have bacteria unless you're downgradient from a giant stockyard or something...

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:36PM
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