Good Water Habits
What You Need to Know
Click Here for a Downloadable Printable PDF of this Document
More than one billion glasses of water are consumed everyday in the world. But do you know where the water you drink comes from? Do you know that it is safe? Whether you use well water or a public drinking water supply, you can take measures to make sure your water is safe. What follows are answers to some common questions concerning safe water issues.
What harmful items get into water?
Bacteria and viruses that cause diseases, nitrates, lead, copper, and harmful chemicals are just a few things that can find their way into drinking water.
Germs from bacteria and viruses can cause upset stomachs, diarrhea, or more serious illnesses. Nitrates are absorbed into water from fertilizers and the waste of animals and humans. Studies have shown they can lead to birth defects and miscarriages. Lead and copper get into water from pipes. Too much lead can cause learning and behavioral problems in children. Pesticides, gas, and oil are among other chemicals that can seep into water and cause health problems.
How do I make sure lead and copper pipes aren’t affecting water?
You can take two precautions that will help tremendously if you have public water. When you haven’t used the water in a while—like in the morning or when you come home from work—the pipes need cleared out. Let cold water run until you feel the temperature change. Also, never use hot water from the tap before cooking, drinking, or making baby formula. Use cold water and warm it on a stove.
The pipes are easy to spot in your house. Copper pipes are reddish-brown, while lead pipes are a dull gray.
How do I know what type of well I have?
If you have a private water source, you must know your well. Below are basic types of wells:
- Dug and bored wells usually have a large hole, two feet across or more. They are usually less than 50 feet deep.
- Drilled wells usually have a narrow hole, four to 10 inches, and are much deeper. At times, they are hundreds of feet deep.
- A driven-point well is usually one to two inches around. They may not be deep.
Is the age of the well important?
Age is definitely important. You should have your well water tested every year, but if the well is more than 20 years old, you need to have the well itself checked out too.
Are there are other things to look for in keeping up my well?
Yes. Local rules may dictate some details, so it is always best to check with your health department for the exact laws. However, some standards are as follows:
- The well casing needs to stick above the ground up to 12 inches. However, this height could vary due to local rules.
- There should be no gaps between the casing and the material or dirt around it.
- The casing should not have any holes or cracks.
- Make sure the well cap fits tightly.
- A screen should cover any openings or vents.
- Make sure there is not a low area near the well where rainwater could collect. Rainwater carries pollutants that can seep into a well.
- Don’t keep gas, oil, or fertilizers near the well.
Where can I get more information?
For more information on your private water well, contact:
Spectrum Geotechnical Services Ltd.
98, Aina Street, Ojodu