Turn on the faucet and the water is there. Modern well pumps and pressure tanks make rural living as convenient as urban living when it comes to your water supply. Water quality is a concern without a centralized point of treatment as with municipal water supplies. Most nuisance well water quality conditions are easy and inexpensive to treat but what happens to that water when it sits in the well, unused for months or years?
The recent economic downturn had a negative effect on the real estate market leaving many homes unoccupied for extended periods. Owners from out-of-state who have summer homes in Maine, shut down their Maine homes for the winter. These wells sit stagnant, unused for months and in some cases – years.
IRON: Well water with a high iron content can cause staining of laundry, dishes and plumbing fixtures. The same water supply when left stagnant will turn to rust. Seasonal residents can return to their lovely summer homes in Maine to find their well water running brown out of the faucets for hours or days until it clears up.
BACTERIA: Coli-form bacteria infestation is common in unused wells. Unlike its cousin e Coli, Coli-form is easy to remediate. A good dose of chlorine either from specialized well tablets or a jug of bleach will kill the bacteria. Some infestations are persistent and require permanent treatment from chlorine injection or ultraviolet filters to keep the Coli-form from multiplying.
If you are buying a home that has been unoccupied a State Certified Laboratory must test the water and provide you with the results. If you are opening your seasonal home for the season a bacteria analysis may be a prudent step to take as a part of the opening process for you. Stop by the MCES showroom to pick up a water test kit. Knowledge is power and knowing what is in your water is very powerful!