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Time to schedule water well check
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MONROE - Ground Water Awareness Week and daylight savings time starts March 8. Set the clocks ahead; check batteries in the smoke detectors; and schedule a water well check up before peak water use season begins.

An annual checkup by a qualified water well contractor is the best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water, says the National Ground Water Association (NGWA). Also, preventative maintenance is usually less costly than emergency maintenance, and good well maintenance - like good car maintenance - can prolong the life of your well and related equipment. NGWA further recommends testing the water anytime there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, or anytime the system is serviced.

Wells can provide high-quality drinking water, and about half the U.S. population receives its drinking water from wells. But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order. A check of the well by a qualified water well contractor may include:

• A flow test to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding, and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact, and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).

• A well equipment inspection to assure it's sanitary and meets local code.

• A test of the water for coliform bacteria and nitrates, and anything else of local concern. Other typical additional tests are those for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides, and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance, and odor.

Well owners who do not wish to have a full checkup by a professional should at least test the well for coliform bacteria and nitrates. The Green County Health Department has test kits available for $3 or free if you have a child under 1 year old or are pregnant. Sample the water with the test kit, then send the water sample to the lab and choose to just test coliform bacteria and nitrates for $32 or a homeowners test which tests for coliform bacteria, nitrates, iron, sulfides, and hardness for $44.

Remember to keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from the well, and maintain a "clean" zone of at least 50 feet between the well and any kennels or livestock operations. Maintain proper separation between the well and buildings, waste systems or chemical storage areas. Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents. Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.

For assistance with conservation practices or for more information, call the Green County Department of Land Conservation at 325-4195.