WHAT IS A SEPTIC INSPECTION?
WHAT IS A WELL INSPECTION?
WHAT IS BACTERIA?
WHAT ARE NITRATES?
REASON'S WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE AN INSPECTION?
WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY WATER?
TEST YOUR PRIVATE WELL WATER ANNUALLY
When purchasing a home you should hire a qualified licensed individual or company to evaluate and write a written report of the septic system on the size, location, age, working condition, and does it meet current or comply with the WI Dept. of Commerce Plumbing Codes.
Our company has Master Plumbers (MPRS), Soil Tester (CST), and Designer's to evaluate the system. We start by researching courthouse records and the history of the property, evaluate current soil and system record's and if there is a contingency (replacement) area before we even go out to the property to do physical and visual evaluation of the septic system. An inspection or evaluation is not just about does the toilet flush!!
WI DEPT OF COMMERCE CREDENTIAL/LICENSE SEARCH -
Determining size, age, gallons per minute (gpm) and if the well meets or complies with Wisconsin Administrative Code NR 812 is very important. Also, taking water samples to test the water for bacteria and nitrate (other tests available upon request) is necessary to make sure the water is safe to drink.
WI DEPT OF NATRUAL RESOURCES LIST OF WELL DRILLERS/PUMP INSTALLERS -
WHAT IS BACTERIA?
Coliform bacteria live in soil, on vegetation and in the surface water. Coliform bacteria found in the intestines of warm-blooded animals and their feces are called E.coli. Some strains of coliform bacteria can survive for long periods in soil and water and can be carried into well casings by insects. Bacteria washed into the ground by rainwater or snowmelt are usually filtered out as the water seeps through the soil, but they sometimes enter water supplies through cracks in the well casings, poorly-sealed caps, fractures in the underlying bedrock, and runoff into sinkholes. Coliform bacteria are the most common contaminants found in private water systems. A 1994 Wisconsin survey found them in 23% of the wells tested and E.coli in 2.4% of the wells.
Most coliform bacteria do not cause illness, but indicate a breach in the water system. However, since E.coli bacteria are found in fecal material, they are often present with bacteria, viruses and parasites that can cause flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. Private wells should be tested at least once a year for bacteria, by a laboratory that performs an E.coli test when coliform are present. Test again if there is change in the taste, color, odor or appearance of your water.
The coliform test is one of the most important tests you should have done on your well water. However, bacteria are only one of many possible contaminants. A negative bacteria test is good news, but does not mean your well is free of other contaminants.
WHAT ARE NITRATES?
If your nitrate level is 10 parts per million as Nitrogen or greater, your water exceeds the federal standard for nitrate in public drinking water supplies.
High nitrate levels in drinking water pose a risk to infants. Infants who are fed water or formula make with water that is high in nitrate can develop a condition that doctors call methemoglobinemia. This condition is also called "blue baby syndrome" because the skin appears blue-grey or lavender in color. This color change is caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood.
All infants under six months of age are at risk for nitrate poisoning, but some babies may be more sensitive than others. Infants suffering from "blue baby syndrome" need immediate medical care because the condition can lead to coma and death if it is not treated promptly.
Some studies have found evidence suggesting that pregnant women who drink nitrate-contaminated water are at a higher risk to having babies with birth defects. Nitrate ingested by the mother may also reduce the amount of oxygen available to the fetus.
If there is an infant or pregnant woman in your household and your water exceeded the federal nitrate standard, do not use you well for drinking water. Instead, obtain water from another source or treat your well water with a special ion exchange system or reverse osmosis unit. Do not boil water to reduce the nitrate level - boiling actually increases the nitrate due to evaporation of the water. Nitrate levels may vary, so you might want to check your well annually.
For more information on nitrates found in ground water, contact your local County Health Dept., regional Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resourses
office or the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, 2601 Agriculture Drive, PO Box 7996, Madison WI 53707-7996 (800-442-4610)
REASON'S WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE INSPECTIONS?
- Landscape over tank cover, no access to filter.
- Garages or out building over contingency (replacement) area.
- Was old system left in and not properly abandoned?
- No contingency (replacement) area.
- Is there a filter? Has it been cleaned or serviced?
- What's the size of the system compared to the number of bedrooms of the home you're buying?
- Condition of septic system.
- Is there a water conditioner/softener? Where does it discharge?
- Was the system installed properly and does it meet current codes?
- Is it a steel tank?
- Is the well code compliant?
- Water samples?