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Public Health - News

Posted on: March 12, 2018

JCPH Encourages Groundwater Users to Test Their Water

National Groundwater Awareness Week

Jefferson County, Colo. — You check your smoke detector, your furnace, your gutters and countless filters, batteries and levels in your home — all in case of emergencies. But are you checking your well water, something you use every day, to make sure it’s safe for you and your family to use?

Just like you break out the broom and screwdriver to perform yearly maintenance on other areas of your home this spring, you should schedule your annual well water checkup before peak water use season begins.

March 11-17 is National Groundwater Awareness Week, an annual observance
by the National Ground Water Association that highlights the responsible development, management and use of water, and encourages well owners to test their wells yearly and keep up proper maintenance to prevent waterborne illnesses.  

At Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), we support the thousands of people in the county who rely on groundwater for their families, homes, livestock, businesses and more, and we encourage well owners to use this month as opportunity to test, tend to and treat their water.

TEST

In Jefferson County alone, there are more than 20,000 groundwater wells.

“The water in your well should be high quality and safe to drink, but without routine testing, you really can’t be certain," said Roy Laws, Environmental Health Services Engineer at JCPH. “There are both naturally-occurring and human-caused contaminants that can impact water quality and your health. We recommend screening for bacteria, nitrates and, depending on where you live, other contaminants such as uranium and fluoride.”

Testing well water is the responsibility of the well owner. Though JCPH recommends you test annually, it’s up to you to keep track of your testing schedule, and to determine if more frequent testing is needed, such as if you notice a change in taste, odor, appearance or if the water system is serviced. Well owners may order sample collection bottles from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s lab, then drop off samples at either the state lab or Jefferson County Public Health for results. For more information on this service, please visit www.jeffco.us/2401.

TEND

The best way to ensure problem-free service and quality water from these wells is to have them checked once per year by a qualified water well contractor. Preventive maintenance on wells is usually less costly than emergency maintenance, and just as you perform regular maintenance on your car, good well upkeep can keep your well and its equipment running smooth for years to come.

To ensure you’re keeping your well as safe as possible year-round, you should:

  • Keep hazardous chemicals, like paint, fertilizer, pesticides or motor oil, far awayfrom the well and maintain a clean zone of at least 50 feet between the well and any kennels or livestock operations.
  • Maintain proper separation between the well, buildings, septic systems and chemical storage areas.
  • Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing to ensure it’s in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
  • Be sure that surface runoff is directed away from the well with proper grading or other drainage features.
  • Keep your well records — including the construction report, annual water well system maintenance and water testing results — in a safe place. 

TREAT

If your water contains contaminants that exceed safe drinking water standards, treatment methods are available for household use. Contact Environmental Health Services at JCPH at 303-232-6301 for further assistance in determining whether treatment is desirable and, if so, what methods are available. 

To learn more about well water testing and how Jefferson County Public Health can help you keep your water supply healthy, clean and safe for you and your family, visit www.jeffco.us/2401.

About Jefferson County Public Health

Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan through prevention, education and partnerships for all people. To learn more about JCPH, visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.


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