Because water quality can be affected by many variables, the first step is to test the water. Neighboring water wells may draw from the same water table or zone. Therefore, it’s important that each property owner test their water wells.
More frequent testing should be considered if:
• There is a change in the taste, odor, or appearance of the well water, or inundation by floodwaters
• The well has a history of bacterial contamination
• The septic system has recently malfunctioned
• An infant is living in the home
• Family members or houseguests have recurrent incidents of gastrointestinal illness
– There is a need to monitor the efficiency and performance of home water treatment equipment.
Water contamination – natural and man-made: Underground water sources are always at risk of various contaminations. In order to determine if water is safe, laboratory tests determining the existence of bacteria (Coliform and E.coli) must be performed.
If a private well is flooded or has been subjected to possible contamination, do not use the water from the well until the following two things have occurred:
1. You have disinfected the well and your plumbing;
2. You have sampled your water and received a lab report confirming that the disinfected water contained no harmful organisms.
Approved water sample bottles, instructions and related forms are available in the Environmental Health Department office, located at 4520 Reading Road, Rosenberg. Do not collect the sample in an unapproved container; do not use jars or other containers from home or other sources.
As a courtesy, the Environmental Health Department will courier water samples submitted on Wednesdays only between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon. A cost of $16.50 per sample is required at the time of submittal (check or money order only payable to City of Houston). Cash is not accepted.
(Note: This test will not determine chemicals or other substances such as lead or nitrites. If you are concerned about chemicals or other possible contaminates in your water, you should contact a private laboratory or contact a private water quality or water treatment service company.)
If problems continue with receiving failing results, it is recommended that the resident contact a licensed water well professional or a water treatment service provider about appropriate treatment technologies. It is possible there are other issues such as a cracked casing or crossed connections. Additional water disinfecting treatment equipment such as reverse osmosis units, chlorination systems, ultraviolet or UV systems may be required to be purchased and installed.
Whether a water well was flooded or not, it is important that each property owner tests their water wells. Private water wells are not protected by federal regulations and are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the private well owner to ensure the quality of their water source.
For more information on water wells, owners and consumers are recommended to visit the National Ground Water Association at www.wellowner.org.