As the father of an autistic child, I have been faced with more than a few necessary home modifications projects. Unfortunately, with the high cost of raising a special needs child and my wife's decision to stay home and raise our son, there simply was no room in our budget to hire a contractor to complete these projects for us. Each weekend for nearly a year, I would pick a project to work on. This past month, I finally finished every project on my list. After learning more than I thought I would ever know about home construction and repair, I have a new found appreciation for the skills of general and specialty contractors. That is why I decided to start this blog to pay tribute to the job these contractors do, and help to empower more homeowners to take on the role of a contractor in their home.
If the recent news stories out of Flint, Michigan have you looking at your own tap water with newfound suspicion, you may be wondering if your supply is at risk. While many utility companies have proactively tested their water for contamination and publicly released the results, those who rely on a private well for water may fear that detection will only come after adverse physical symptoms have presented themselves. Read on to learn more about what can cause lead contamination in a private well, as well as what you can do to eliminate the risk of lead-contaminated water in your home.
What can cause lead to enter well water?
There are several possible sources of waterborne lead. The first, as in Flint, is the use of lead pipes to transport water from one point to another. If water with a high mineral content enters these pipes, it can corrode them and cause them to leach lead into the water.
Lead may also enter well water through ground contamination. If old cars, batteries, or other sources of heavy metal are stored on or around the soil surrounding your well, lead may leak into the soil over time and enter the aquifer.
What should you do to test and treat your water for lead?
Even if you're not sure your home's pipes are made from lead, performing a quick water quality test can help ease your mind as to whether your well water has any issues that require correction. As a heavy metal, lead is fairly easily detected in water, and there are a variety of at-home tests you can purchase from home supply stores that promise to determine whether any lead is present in your home's water.
To narrow down the source of any potential lead contamination, you'll want to test the water at several sources -- directly from your well and from an indoor faucet and outdoor spigot at your home. If the water coming from your faucets and spigots tests positive for lead but your well water has low to no lead content, it's usually a safe assumption that your pipes are to blame. On the other hand, if your well water has a high lead level, there may be ground contamination or other factors at play.
In either event, lead remediation can be a pricey prospect. If lead seems to be coming from the pipes between your well and your home's plumbing system, excavation and replacement is usually the primary option. In other situations, simply leaving the lead-lined pipes in place and raising your well pump to connect it to newly-installed lines located above the old ones may be a less expensive option than excavation and replacement.
For homes with full well contamination, a heavy-duty lead filter and a bit more investigation into the root cause of the lead levels (such as a nearby field littered with car batteries contaminating the groundwater supply) can help you determine the best remediative efforts -- including capping your well and obtaining treated and tested water from a nearby municipal or county supply company.Share
24 March 2016