We all rely on safe drinking water in our homes, it is vital to our health and quality of life. If you are buying a home where the water supply comes from a well source there are precautions that need to taken. First and foremost and at the very least, you must have the water tested to ensure a safe bacterial count. You should be aware that the bacterial stability of water cannot always be determined from a single sample. To establish drinking water quality initially, take three samples at least one week apart and each test must show acceptable coliform/E.coli counts.
However, water quality can change. It is recommended that you test your well water four times a year: spring, summer, fall and winter to keep up-to-date on the quality of your family’s drinking water. Next to properly maintaining your well, testing is your best strategy for playing it safe.
It is important to note that all bacteriological tests for Ontario are done in a licensed laboratory.
Consider Enhanced Testing
Testing for bacterial safe drinking water will not identify other problems that may exist in your well water such has high salt content, sulfur, iron, nitrates etc. If you are in an agricultural area, you may also wish to test for pesticides, herbicides, gasoline and solvents etc. Your Royal LePage Sales Representative can recommend Water Testing Companies in the Ottawa Area that are able to test for other properties that may be hazardous to you and your family’s health.
Well’s Flow Rate, Can It Sustain the Household?
Another element that needs to be considered is the well’s flow rate to ensure that an adequate water supply is being delivered to the home to accommodate your family’s usage needs. A well that pumps only 3 gallons of water per minute is not sufficient to sustain a household. It becomes impossible to carry out normal day to day household activities such as running the dishwasher, taking a shower or running the washing machine. It is imperative that you ask the seller for their Well Drillers Report which should identify flow rate. But caution should be used when relying on this information solely as well water flow rates can change depending on what activities have happened in surrounding areas such as blasting that could affect an underground water source. We strongly recommend to all buyers of properties serviced by well water to have an inspection carried out by a well driller who will determine the well’s present day flow rate.
Testing Well Components, Electrical Components and Pump and Pressure System
Also, the pump and pressure system, well cap and electrical components servicing the well will need inspection and your Royal LePage Sales Representative will assist with arranging for service providers to carry out this inspection for you.
Abandoned and Non-Operational Wells
Unused or abandoned wells are a significant potential source of contamination. Abandoned wells should be properly decommissioned (plugged and sealed) to protect the aquifer from the direct entry of surface water and contaminants. Decommissioning also prevents the movement of water and contaminants between aquifers, or between an aquifer and the ground surface, and eliminates a safety hazard to humans and animals.
In Ontario, unused or improperly abandoned wells must either be upgraded to meet regulatory requirements or be properly decommissioned
Well Water Records
Water Well Individual Record Search Request.
This search request form is required to obtain copies of individual water well records i.e. a copy of the actual Well Record as submitted by the Well Contractor at the time of construction and can be obtained from:
Ministry of Environment
Water Well Records Management
125 Resources Road
Toronto, On M9P 3V6