Well being Watch: Clear Water is the Key to a Wholesome Life All Entry
Healthy living requires an adequate supply of good quality water for drinking and home use. When rain or snow hits the ground, there is a high likelihood that minerals and organics, microorganisms and other forms of pollution will come into contact with the water.
When water runs over or through the soil surface, it can absorb small pieces of soil with it. This makes the water cloudy, or what is known as cloudy. It also picks up particles of organic matter and bacteria.
As the surface water moves down into the soil and into the water table, most of the small particles in the water are filtered out. This natural cleaning of the water in the soil can sometimes remove some bacteria and other unwanted materials. However, the chemical composition of water can change when it comes into contact with the various minerals in the soil.
In Kittitas County, we often find that our groundwater is rich in minerals such as iron and manganese. These minerals can cause the water to appear cloudy and colored (sometimes red or brown). These substances are not considered a primary health concern by our state health department. Their presence is mostly unpleasant, that is, dyeing devices, the need for more detergents and water, which may be reddish in color or less clear.
Chemical and bacteriological analyzes can be carried out by state-certified laboratories. Our department has a list of certified laboratories if you are concerned about your water and want to test it.
For health reasons, drinking water must be free from bacteria (which can cause diseases). Although groundwater is naturally purified as it flows through the ground, heavy rainfall, flooding, irrigation water in the canals and ditches in our area, or a faulty local sewage system can contaminate your drinking water.
A well with a casing that is cracked or has corroded over time can cause dirty water to enter the well. Repairs to water pipes, pressure tanks, storage tanks or well caps can contaminate the well water. Testing for all of the different bacteria can be difficult and time consuming, so testing water for something called coliform bacteria.
Coliform bacteria are almost always in water, which contains the same bacteria that make us sick. Coliform bacteria live longer and are easier to find in the laboratory, so they are tested in the laboratory. If they are found in our water, it means that the bacteria that can make us sick are likely in the water too. A negative test result (satisfactory) means that no coliform bacteria were found in the water sample at the time the test was carried out. A positive result (unsatisfactory) means that coliform bacteria were found in the water when the sample was taken.
If your test for coliforms is positive, the water system owner should look for problems in the wellhead, the pitless adapter (this is the point where the water line connects to the side of the well casing below the frost level), and the wellbore area around the well .
A properly built and maintained well should include:
The wellhead should have a properly installed sanitary seal and a shielded “gooseneck” vent.
• Holes through which wires run should be sealed.
• The well casing should extend at least 6 inches above the ground.
The area between the well casing and the surrounding soil (the annulus) should be grouted or sealed.
Your well should not have any of the following within a 100 radius: on-site sewage systems, animal sheds, manure heaps, and gardens, or fields where large amounts of pesticides or herbicides are used.
No chemicals, paints, pesticides or fertilizers should be stored in your well house or building.
If possible, your well house should have a concrete floor with a drain.
After fixing any problems with your well construction and checking the area around your well, follow the instructions for disinfecting your well provided by our department.
To test your drinking water for coliforms or inorganic chemicals, please call the Kittitas County Health Department at 962-7515. Test kits for both can be picked up from our office at 507 N. Nanum Street, Suite 102 in Ellensburg.