Jacksonville Duval County 904-346-1266
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GAINESVILLE ALACHUA COUNTY 352-335-8555
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Iron bacteria can produce a slimy rust-colored mass on plumbing fixtures and any surface in contact with water containing these organisms. Iron bacteria give an unpleasant taste and odor to the water, discolor and spot fabrics and plumbing fixtures, reduce water flow through pipes, and clog pumps (Manual of Small Public Water Supply Systems; EPA570-9-91-003; May 1991). While the aesthetic problems caused by iron bacteria in drinking water may not directly represent a public health risk, the appearance of aesthetic problems may signal pipe deterioration or other issues that may represent, or lead to, a health concern (Health Risks from Microbial Growth and Biofilms in Drinking Water Distribution Systems, June 17, 2002). EPA has not set a standard for iron bacteria in drinking water.
To help determine the cause(s) of aesthetic or cosmetic effects from your drinking water, contact your local drinking water system. Additional guidance for household well owners is available at www.epa.gov/safewater/privatewells. General information on nuisance chemicals is available at www.epa.gov/safewater/consumer/2ndstandards.html.
If your family gets drinking water from a private well, do you know if your water is safe to drink? What health risks could you and your family face? Where can you go for help or advice?
The information contained in this web site will help you answer these questions.
EPA regulates public water systems; it does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells. Approximately 15 percent of Americans rely on their own private drinking water supplies, and these supplies are not subject to EPA standards, although some state and local governments do set rules to protect users of these wells. Unlike public drinking water systems serving many people, they do not have experts regularly checking the water’s source and its quality before it is sent to the tap. These households must take special precautions to ensure the protection and maintenance of their drinking water supplies.
- Basic Information – Learn about the types of drinking water wells and guidelines for proper construction.
- Where You Live – Find information about private drinking water wells in your region or state.
- Frequent Questions -This page answers questions you may have about your well water.
- Human Health – Learn about health risks associated with drinking water wells.
- Partnerships – Several organizations are working to keep private drinking water wells safe.
- What You Can Do – Learn how to do your part in keeping your drinking water well safe.
- Publications -Download or order copies of brochures, booklets, posters, reports, and multi-media publications.
- Related Links – Link to web sites with additional information on private drinking water wells.
- Glossary – Look up unfamiliar terms in EPA’s electronic glossary.
There are three types of private drinking water wells: dug, driven, and drilled. See the three links below for an explanation and graphic of the types of wells.
Proper well construction and continued maintenance are keys to the safety of your water supply. Your state water-well contractor licensing agency, local health department, or local water system professional can provide information on well construction.
The well should be located so rainwater flows away from it. Rainwater can pick up harmful bacteria and chemicals on the land’s surface. If this water pools near your well, it can seep into it, potentially causing health problems.
Water-well drillers and pump-well installers are listed in your local phone directory. The contractor should be bonded and insured. Make certain your ground water contractor is registered or licensed in your state, if required. If your state does not have a licensing/registration program contact the National Ground Water Association. They have a voluntary certification program for contractors. (In fact, some states use the Association’s exams as their test for licensing.) For a list of certified contractors in your state contact the Association at (614) 898-7791 or (800) 551-7379. There is no cost for mailing or faxing the list to you.
To keep your well safe, you must be sure possible sources of contamination are not close by. Experts suggest the following distances as a minimum for protection — farther is better (see graphic on the right):
- Septic Tanks, 50 feet
- Livestock yards, Silos, Septic Leach Fields, 50 feet
- Patroleum Tanks, Liquid-Tight Manure Storage and Fertilizer Storage and Handling, 100 feet
- Manure Stacks, 250 feet
Many homeowners tend to forget the value of good maintenance until problems reach crisis levels. That can be expensive. It’s better to maintain your well, find problems early, and correct them to protect your well’s performance. Keep up-to-date records of well installation and repairs plus pumping and water tests. Such records can help spot changes and possible problems with your water system. If you have problems, ask a local expert to check your well construction and maintenance records. He or she can see if your system is okay or needs work.
Protect your own well area. Be careful about storage and disposal of household and lawn care chemicals and wastes. Good farmers and gardeners minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Take steps to reduce erosion and prevent surface water runoff. Regularly check underground storage tanks that hold home heating oil, diesel, or gasoline. Make sure your well is protected from the wastes of livestock, pets, and wildlife.
For additional information see:
- Drinking Water From Household Wells PDF (24 pp, 1 M) (ALL ABOUT PDF FILES)
EPA 816-K-02-003 January 2002
- EPA Software for Environmental Awareness -Private Water Systems – A complete minicourse in design and construction of private drinking water systems (wells and piping). Includes water quantities required, water pumps, systems controls, design considerations and piping.
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For more information on for more information on what human activities can pollute ground water see:
other websites we recommend you look at