Contaminated well next steps

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Old 06-16-18, 06:47 AM
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Contaminated well next steps

My parents had their well water tested and came back with coliform bacteria. So I helped them shock the well and sanitize the plumbing... and it came back again with the same bacteria. Trying to figure out next steps.

* I did run some bleach water through the softener, but tried to limit it because it seems to damage the resin. The resin is probably 15 years old, so is probably due for a replacement anyway. Maybe there's still bacteria living in the softener?

* The softener recharges and seems to work fine, but the water quality has definitely declined over the past year or so. The water test showed soft water, but it doesn't feel soft anymore when washing off soap, etc.

* Is cleaning/sanitizing/replacing the softener resin as easy as it sounds? Take it all apart, fill with bleach/water, clean out, then new resin?

* Is it worth trying to clean the softener first? Or should we just bite the bullet and get a UV sterilizer?


(The well is a "modern" deep well, I don't know, but probably ~300', with a 6" steel well casing, pump at the bottom.)

Any suggestions for next steps?
 
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Old 06-16-18, 07:09 AM
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You can sanitize the Well and your Distribution system repeatedly; but it is the water source that is being contaminated from a distance, and you probably have to look beyond your own property to find the underlying cause.

Around here, Farmers may commence spreading manure on fields that have gone without being treated for decades, and suddenly, coliform may appear in the water of surrounding homes.

Has anything of significance changed in the surrounding area that could have contaminated the local aquifer ?
 

Last edited by Vermont; 06-16-18 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 06-16-18, 08:39 AM
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This is the best instructions I have found for shocking a well/plumbing system. I have used on my system with great reaures.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/wells/waterquality/disinfection.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjY6cuztdjbAhUCeawKHTP-DioQFjAAegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw3yk8lO8r0oSowYxTJ7bhNN

Follow them exactly and I bet you will be successful.
 
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Old 06-16-18, 08:51 AM
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We've been discussing that being the issue. There's discussion in the area about problems like this cropping up more and more, but of course it's mostly hearsay.

I'm wondering if it's just worth installing a UV sterilizer and not worrying about it again.
 
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Old 06-16-18, 09:05 AM
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The presence of certain chemicals in the water (manganese in particular) adhere to the UV Light Bulbs and render the device ineffective. Coliform in small amounts isn't such a health issue . . . . while the presence of Escherichia Coli (e.coli) will cause a water test to fail and make the water unsuitable for human consumption . . . . even though most strains are also harmless, some can make you seriously ill.

When manganese is present, I have had people resort to a whole house chlorination system as the alternative.

Best to find out where the coliform originates.

What prompted your Parents to begin worrying about their water and get that first test ?
 
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Old 06-16-18, 09:05 AM
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Thanks Tolyn, actually it was the MN instructions I had found and followed. I feel like I did the shocking correctly, so I'm wondering if the issue is the aquifer.
 
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Old 06-16-18, 10:23 AM
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What prompted your Parents to begin worrying about their water and get that first test ?
They moved in about 2.5 years ago, and it was on their 'to do' list, and finally got the water tested.
It's always been hard (all the water in the area is), but came back a second time with "MF T. Coliform Present", which is "not satisfactory sanitary drinking water based on NY state and EPA parameters."

E.Coli was absent.

No one's gotten sick from it (as far as we know), but it seems like something that needs to be 'fixed'. Right?
 
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Old 06-16-18, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt
". . . it seems like something that needs to be 'fixed'. Right? . . .
That depends on the State you're in. If that's New York, then apparently the tolerance is ZERO parts per Million on the Coliform, and if you were selling, a Buyer would/could insist on your Parent's water meeting that potability standard..

Some States have a tolerance of ZERO E.Coli but will tolerate as many as 10 PPM of total Coliform; I think some tolerate an even higher number. And the tolerance varies between quite a bit between municipal or public water supplies and what is considered potable from private wells.

You'd like to say that the water should be pure and completely free of ALL bacteria . . . . but that condition is seldom achieved for long. Shocking a system is only temporary, and it's often the faucet strainers, gaskets and screens that harbor some microscopic fauna.
 
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