I am pleased to introduce guest blogger Ashley Connolley from Northeast Water Wells who is here to discuss some of the potential issues a home owner can face from the recent record breaking storms and flooding in the Metrowest Massachusetts area.
Ashley was kind enough to drop by and give some things to consider regarding the potential for contamination in our local wells. Testing a Massachusetts well when purchasing a home is always an important consideration but even more so with the storms we have experienced recently.
With all the recent rain it’s really played a toll on our septic systems and in turn our wells. Residents all over New England could be at risk for several different contamination factors due to all this rain.
Shallow wells such as, dug wells, point wells and others are particularly at risk for septic, fertilizer, salt and many other contaminants due to the flooding. When the water table is as high as it currently is and we experience high volumes of contamination hits in regards to water quality. Bacteria being the biggest contaminant found. If you have a dug or point well being used for residential/ potable applications it is highly recommended that you have a comprehensive analysis preformed on your water.
Not only shallow wells can be affected by this flooding a deep well otherwise know as drilled or artesian are also apt to have contamination hits. How you might ask? The well the most common reason would be that a lot of wells are in a well tile or are improperly sealed. Subsurface wells are particularly at risk of contamination due to the fact that they are underground. A lot of wells throughout New England have been exposed to septic overflows and could have potentially contaminated the underground aquifers. Now this article is not meant to scare you, but to inform you of the risks that occur when severe flooding is experienced and how to protect yourselves and your families. The only way to know your safe is to have your water tested.
Bacteria is an absolutely remediable contaminant in most cases. A thorough chlorination of the well will rid the system of any and all bacteria’s. It is always recommended to retest the quality a month to three months after the chlorination treatment is preformed to insure that it was effective.
There are however some instances where the bacteria issues are persistent and chlorination does not cure the problem. There are UV or Ultra Violet Filtration systems in which the water passes through the light and the light eliminates 99.9% of the bacteria. Now you may ask what the common types of bacteria found e.coli are and coli form is the most common present bacteria’s.
There can be warning signs that bacteria is present in the form of stomach upset and bowel issues. Children, the elderly and immune suppressed individuals are the highest at risk to show symptoms.
I have found Northeast Water Wells to be excellent at handling any type of information needed surrounding Massachusetts well water.
If you have any further questions in regards to the flooding or contaminants, please do not hesitate to contact Ashley Connolly a representative at Northeast Water Wells Inc Her contact information is Ashley@wellguy.com or 1-800-562-9355.
Northeast Water Wells is my vendor of choice when one of my buyer clients is purchasing a home because of their vast knowledge and great customer relations!
As a home seller or buyer in Massachusetts there are always questions that come up regarding testing the water when a home is serviced by a private well.
If you happen to be buying a Massachusetts home that is serviced by a well and not by public water you better make darn sure that you have it tested as part of your contingency of sale!
When I am working as a buyers agent one of my functions is to recommend a good home inspector. In addition to the home inspection part of the buyers due diligence also includes testing for other things such as radon, mold and the water.
When you are testing the water you are going to want to do what is known as quality and quantity test. Both of these tests are equally important as you want to make sure the water is safe but also that you will have enough to service the home properly.
Massachusetts Well Quality Testing
While testing can vary from state to state on what you should be checking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that you should be screening for coliform bacteria, nitrates, and the PH level. It is also advisable that you check for the more harmful contaminants such as arsenic, lead, copper, and volatile organic compounds. In Massachusetts there is no state requirement for testing a well when purchasing a home!
Under Massachusetts General Law, (MGL Ch.111 s.122) local Boards of Health (BOHs) have the primary jurisdiction over regulating private wells. The local board of health is empowered to adopt Private Well Regulations that establish criteria for private well siting, construction, water quality and quantity. For example in my home town of Hopkinton Massachusetts, the board of health has instituted a policy that makes it mandatory to test your wells quality when you are selling your home if it has not been done in the last 5 years. It is a measure of public safety to know that the towns homes have good potable water.
What is interesting is that most lenders using conventional loan products do not require the testing of a homes water system. You would think a bank would want to know that the home they are lending money on has a sound water system but I have rarely seen this as a condition.
When taking the sample of the water it should be taken from the cold water tap at the kitchen sink. If the home has a water treatment system it is advisable that you get two water samples taken. One before the filtration system and one after. This of course makes perfect sense because it would allow you to know what contaminates are present and also make your aware if the water treatment system is doing it’s job as intended. Interestingly enough I have rarely ever seen an inspector do both. Believe it or not I usually see it done one way or the other but not both.
Some home inspectors will provide water quality testing as part of their service. When I am working as a buyers agent, I like to have my clients use the services of a well company that specializes in water testing. Whoever takes the sample usually will be in charge of sending it off to the lab that will analyze the water. The lab that the water is sent to should be state certified. These labs follow specific procedures for testing contaminants.
The charge for testing the quality of the water can vary from inspector to inspector. I would plan on at least a couple hundred dollars for a water quality test. Once the test is completed and the water has been checked you will get a report that spells out the level of each compound in the water along with a corresponding limit that the EPA requires for it to be considered a passing test.
One element that often goes untested is Radon. While many buyers are aware about radon in the air and usually test for it, many Real Estate agents fail to recommend that their buyers test for radon in the water. This is something you specifically need to ask to screen for as it generally is not provided in a standard test. There are a couple things that should be noted about radon in the water. There is no national EPA mandated passing level for radon in the water. It varies from state to state. In Massachusetts the passing level is considered to be under 10,000 pCi/L.
The cost of remedying radon in water is much more costly than when it is found in the air. Generally speaking radon that is found in the air inside a home can be cured for around $800-$1500. Most of the homes that I have sold that had a radon issue cost around $1000 to re-mediate.
Radon in water is a different story. Depending on the type of systems used, the cost generally can run between a couple thousand up to seven or eight thousand. The two types of radon treatment systems are aeration and granulated activated carbon (GAC). The aeration system is the more expensive of the two. Both are considered to be effective but the aeration system is preferred in homes where the pCi/L is higher than 25,000.
Massachusetts Well Quantity Testing
When a well is 1st drilled there is usually a log that is registered at the local board of health. Within the log there will be information regarding the well’s capacity and the yield in gallons per minute. It is always good to see what the well’s history was when installed, however, it is possible the yield could change over time. This makes it vital that you check the well’s quantity prior to buying a home. There are companies that specifically deal with checking how much water a well produces.
The company that is hired to test the well quantity will more than likely run a garden hose into a one gallon bucket and monitor the output over a 4 hour time period.
Most board of health agencies and others in the well industry recommend a flow rate of 5 gallons per minute for a period of 4 hours as an optimum minimum water supply capacity for a private well. This volume is equivalent to 1200 gallons of water delivered within a 4 hour period and should be adequate for all indoor water usage as well as a modest amount of outdoor use, not including heavy irrigation. If you are a fan of having a perfectly manicured lawn and landscaping and are going to be using large amounts of water through an irrigation system you are more than likely going to want the well to produce more than 5 gallons per minute.
The company that is my preferred vendor for water testing is Northeast Water Wells. I have found Northeast Water Wells to be very customer service orientated and knowledgeable. They are a full service well testing company that also will work with irrigation wells, geothermal wells, well abandonment and rehabilitation, hydro fracking, zone fracking, sanitizers and water softeners, water pressure holding tanks, and pressure boosting pumps among others. Northeast Water Wells does testing all around Massachusetts and is also located in New Hampshire as well.
Testing a well when buying a Massachusetts home is always an important consideration!
About the author: The above Real Estate information on testing a Massachusetts well when buying a home was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 508-435-5356. Bill has helped people move in and out ofmany Metrowest towns for the last 24+ Years.
Thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service the following towns in Metrowest MA: Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Franklin, Framingham, Grafton, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Northboro, Bellingham, Uxbridge, and Douglas.
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