Skaneateles It’s up to you to determine if your drinking water is safe. Unlike public water systems, private drinking water wells are not routinely tested by a regulatory agency.
To help residents determine the quality of their water supply and learn how to protect their wells, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Onondaga County will host a well testing and maintenance workshop at the Skaneateles United Methodist Church on Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Did you know that groundwater contaminants can be colorless, odorless and difficult to detect without lab testing? Some common contaminants include E. coli, bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and fecal coliform. Yearly well-water testing, regular wellhead inspection and proper management of your property will help to maintain the health of your well and drinking water.
Below are a few tips to get you thinking about well management:
First, locate your well. Knowing where your well is located is an essential step in its protection. The ground around your well should slope up to the well head or be property protected so that storm water runoff travels away. This will help to ensure that contaminants will not leach into your well from the well head.
Second, note how the land around your well is managed. Pollution prevention is one of the ways homeowners can reduce health risks associated with private wells. Nearby livestock waste, corroded underground storage tanks, excessive pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer usage can contaminate your well water. By ceasing some of these practices and keeping up with the maintenance of others, homeowners can take preventative measures to ensure the longevity of their well system.
Third, keep detailed records of your well testing and maintenance. This will help in future planning and if you plan to sell your home.
Groundwater is a resource we share and can be polluted easily through the mismanagement of one or more drinking wells. Remember to cap a well that is no longer in use, as these wells are a common source of pollution to groundwater.
Want to learn more and have your water tested? If so, join Cornell Cooperative Extension for the well testing and maintenance workshop. To register visit extendonondaga.org or call 424-9485.
Registration forms and well testing sample bottles are available until Sept. 13 at the Skaneateles, Spafford and Niles Town Halls.
The workshop is free and well testing is $20.
Tara Dougherty and Jessica Alighieri work for Cornell Cooperative Extension