WELL WELL WELL

When you are thinking of buying a new home, there are many details to consider: Financing, the condition of the home, schools in the area and the quality of the neighborhood, property taxes, insurance, whether all of your furniture will fit. And the water. You will drink, shower, clean, flush, brush and wash with the water in your new home every day.

So, what do you need to think about if that prospective home operates on a private well?

The majority of homes today have a municipal water source that is regulated by government and Environmental Protection Agency health standards. In these cases, the homeowner has little need to be overly involved in the health and safety of their water.

But that changes a bit when your home has its own water source. And some prospective homeowners may not be comfortable making that shift from a home with a municipal water supply to one with its own private water source.

If your prospective home has well water, you are not alone. According to the EPA, 15 percent of Americans rely on individually owned and operated sources of drinking water. Here are some tips derived from the EPA for managing a home with a private well:

Research common water problems in your area

If you are moving to a completely new area, it is a good idea to reach out to your local water expert for information on local water problems. The EPA website is also a good resource for local water problems. This way, you will be proactive in preserving the taste and safety of your drinking water.

Find out your state’s well water regulations and recommendations

States vary on policies and regulations for private well water owners. Check with your local water expert or local health department for your state’s policies or guidelines on water testing. In some states, like Colorado, you may need to obtain a permit for your private well. In other states, like New Jersey, it is required by law for a seller to perform a water test and disclose results to potential buyers.

Get the water tested by a trusted local professional

Local water professionals can do an in-home water test for certain contaminants, but some recommended well water tests require a full lab analysis. Your local water professional can help guide you through the most appropriate testing for your home.

Have test results interpreted by someone who knows local water conditions

Make sure your local water expert clearly explains the results of your water test, especially if you are new to well water.

Learn your options if your water does contain contaminants

Many contaminants in well water can easily be reduced with water softeners, drinking water filters or other water treatment systems. If your water does contain a contaminant, reach out to a local water expert who will be able to determine the best option for you in your area.

Set up a regular water testing schedule for your home

The EPA recommends private well water tests once a year for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH levels. The EPA also recommends an extra well water test every two to three years for tannins, hardness, chloride and copper.

Keep a record of your water tests and any problems that occur

It is a good idea to keep water test results on file. This will allow you to reference them to help identify when a problem began and determine a potential cause. This will also help answer questions from prospective buyers if you ever sell the home.

If you are planning on moving to a home with well water, finding a water expert to help you is one of the easiest and best things you can do to ensure your water is healthy and safe. When choosing a water expert, make sure they are Water Quality Association-certified, work in your area and understand local water problems.

Check with your local health department, your neighbors or search for your local water treatment company for suggestions on water experts in your area. Becoming educated in well water safety will be beneficial to the maintenance and longevity of your new home!

MAINTAINING YOUR WELL WATER

Suppose you’re a private well owner in Anywhere, USA. Perhaps you’ve moved out to the country to get away from urban sprawl and found yourself the proud owner of a water well for the first time. Or maybe you’ve relied upon a water well most your life. Either way, you probably don’t have an owner’s manual that goes with your well. That seems okay until you need help. It’s at times like those that you’ll wish you knew some basics about water well system maintenance.

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WHEN YOU WISH UPON A WELL

A wishing well is a term from European folklore to describe wells where it was thought that any spoken wish would be granted. The idea that a wish would be granted came from the idea that water housed deities or had been placed there as a gift from the gods, since water was a source of life and often a scarce commodity.

The Germanic and Celtic peoples considered springs and wells sacred places. Sometimes the places were marked with wooden statues possibly of the god associated with the pool. Germanic peoples were known to throw the armour and weapons of defeated enemies into bogs and other pools of water as offerings to their gods. Water was seen to have healing powers and therefore wells became popular with many people drinking, bathing or just simply wishing over it. Some people believe that the guardians or dwellers of the well would grant them their wish if they paid a price. After uttering the wish, one would generally drop coins in the well. That wish would then be granted by the guardian or dweller, based upon how the coin would land at the bottom of the well. It was thus potentially lucky to throw coins in the well, but it depended on how they landed.

A small ornamental garden wishing well, with coins to wish for
The tradition of dropping pennies in ponds and fountains stems from this. Coins would be placed there as gifts for the deity to show appreciation.

In November 2006 the “Fountain Money Mountain” reported that tourists throw just under 3 million pounds sterling per year into wishing wells.

This may be a left over from ancient mythology such as Mímir’s Well from Nordic myths, also known as the ¨Well of Wisdom¨, a Well that could grant you infinite wisdom provided you sacrificed something you held dear. Odin was asked to sacrifice his right eye which he threw into the well to receive not only the wisdom of seeing the future but the understanding of why things must be. Mímir is the Nordic god of wisdom, and his well sits at the roots of Yggdrasil, the World Tree which draws its water from the well.

THE UNIVERSE AND YOUR TOILET

If you t hink back to your eighth-grade science class, you may remember that a fluid is anything that can’t hold a shape. Your car may be fast, but it’s still a solid, not a fluid. But liquids like the petrol in your tank and the coffee in your cup take the shape of whatever they’re poured into. They are fluids. Gases like the air you’re breathing and the CO2 pouring out of your exhaust pipe also take the shape of their containers; they are fluids, too.

The most important characteristic of a fluid is its ability to flow . The atoms in a solid — like an iron beam — are locked rigidly into place like Lego blocks in a Lego castle you (or your kids) built. But the atoms in a fluid can roll and tumble and cascade around each other (like those same Legos in the plastic bin when your kids have torn the castle apart).

It’s that flowing freedom that gives fluid motion its hypnotic quality. Allow yourself to become mesmerized by the flow of a fast-moving river around a bridge trestle and you’ll know what I mean. There is poetry in the massive cascade of waves as the river water pushes past an obstacle. And there is dance in the roiling turbulence that emerges downstream.

But, most importantly, the choreography of matter and motion you’re watching right before your eyes doesn’t care about place and time. What you see before your eyes today is being repeated all across the cosmos.

If you don’t believe me, go flush your toilet.

As soon as you push that handle down on that most personal of household appliances, the universal laws of fluid dynamics kick in. The swirling pattern of water down the toilet drain is an example of what physicists call vortical motion . A vortex occurs whenever a fluid is forced to flow in circles. The polar vortex that made everyone’s life a wintry hell last month originates with the atmosphere (a fluid) driven into circular motion by the Earth’s rotation. But look at the graceful arcs of a spiral galaxy across 10 million light-years of space and you will see the same principles at work on scales so vast it will make your imagination cry uncle! (It takes the water in your toilet about a half-second to complete one rotation; the gas in a spiral galaxy makes the same trip in 200 million years).

From the first moments after the Big Bang, to clouds rolling across the sky, to you staring down into your toilet — it’s all the same. So if you really want to find your inner child and know the secrets of the cosmos at the same time, it’s simple.

All you have to do is flush.