What Influences the Quality of Ground Water?
"Pure" water does not exist. All natural
water contains some dissolved gases and minerals. Ground water quality is
influenced by the chemical make-up of the geologic formations in which it
occurs, and the length of time that it has been underground.
Overall, ground water is cleaner and
purer than surface water. Most ground water moves very slowly and its long
travel time in a dark cool environment means that it has few, if any, of the
millions of microorganisms that are virtually always found in lakes or
rivers. Ground water is usually free of sediment and constant in
temperature. In addition, ground water is naturally protected underground
and less likely to become polluted than surface water. However, ground water
may be more mineralized than surface water because its slow movement gives
time for it to dissolve minerals from the rocks it touches, allowing it to
pick up various rock-related chemical constituents.
These constituents may include trace
levels of iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, sodium, bicarbonate, silica,
sulfate, chloride, nitrate, and fluoride. Small amounts of these elements
and compounds do not usually cause health problems in drinking water. In
some cases, however, the levels may be high enough to affect the aesthetics
of the water (e.g., staining, hardness) and must be reduced.
Some dissolved constituents can be
removed or reduced with treatment equipment. Home water treatment is often a
simple cost-effective solution to water quality problems, particularly in
rural and suburban areas. Moreover, many persons using municipal water
supplies supplement the municipal treatment with home water treatment units.
In order to obtain good results most water treatment units require attention
and maintenance. An improperly maintained treatment unit may be ineffective
and may cause additional water quality problems.
Homeowners with wells have primary
responsibility for the quality, and quantity of their water supply. It is
recommended that the drinking water supply be checked with an inexpensive
laboratory test each year. Water quality problems can usually be remedied
with appropriate water treatment equipment. About 30 percent of the homes in
the United States have some kind of water conditioning equipment to meet
personal or recommended water quality standards.
Water testing may be done by private
testing labs, county and state health laboratories, departments of health,
and some local environmental consulting companies.
are buying a home, you should have a water test performed to determine the
water quality supplied to the house. Detection Inspection, Inc. is qualified
to perform water testing and can provide a low cost scientific water test.
Request the water test when you schedule your home inspection.
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