THE POTABILITY TESTING PROCESS
The inspector takes a water sample from the interior of the home using a special container. If an aerator is installed, it is removed and the faucet is disinfected prior to sampling.
SAMPLE TO LABORATORY
The water sample is taken to Teton Microbiology in Idaho Falls the same/next day.
The inspector is only able to hold and refrigerate the water sample for a maximum of 24 hours prior to dropping it off to the laboratory.
The test results are usually ready the day after the water sample is dropped off. The report is sent to the client that afternoon/evening.
COMMON WELL TESTING QUESTIONS
WHAT IS POTABILITY TESTING?
Potability testing consists of taking a water sample from the home's well system and taking it to a microbiology lab for testing. The microbiology lab will test the water for Total Coliform and E.Coli
WHAT IS E.COLI?
E. coli (Escherichia coli) is a type of bacteria that lives in the intestines of people and animals. E. coli is commonly found in human and animal feces. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but some can make people sick.
WHAT IS TOTAL COLIFORM?
Total coliforms are a group of bacteria that are widespread in nature. All members of the total coliform group can occur in human feces, but some can also be present in animal manure, soil, and submerged wood and in other places outside the human body. Thus, the usefulness of total coliforms as an indicator of fecal contamination depends on the extent to which the bacteria species found are fecal and human in origin... For drinking water, total coliforms are still the standard test because their presence indicates contamination of a water supply by an outside source.
WHAT IF THE TEST RESULTS COME BACK POSITIVE?
If the test results come back positive, there are several different steps that can be taken. The most recommended step is disinfecting the well. If there is no breach in the well, this will usually fix the issue! A retest is then recommended to confirm the total coliform/E.coli has been removed.
WHEN SHOULD REQUEST A RETEST FOR MY WELL?
After following the recommended steps within the potability report, the retest should be scheduled for at least 48 hours after disinfection.
NOTE: Ensure the chlorine is completely drained from the well system. If not, the laboratory will detect the chlorine and fail the water test.
MY WELL TESTS KEEP COMING BACK POSITIVE. WHAT CAN I DO?
If the water sample keeps coming back positive for either total coliform or E.coli, there could be a breach in the well. Evaluation by a qualified well contractor is recommended. There are many different issues that could contaminate the well water.
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE WATER SAMPLE WAS A FALSE READING?
There is a possibility that the faucet is causing the water sample to come back positive for either bacteria. However, this is not likely the case. Our procedures help prevent false readings and ensure testing is consistent.
WATER FLOW TESTING
We also provide water flow testing. This is different that a standard well "yield test". The water flow testing we provide is not an invasive test nor does it involve various types of testing equipment. We also do not run the water in an attempt to see if the well dries up.
Our testing will be able to see the general GPM the well is providing near the well and/or within the home. This is usually the information most lenders want. If there are any major issues with the pump, tank, or pressure switch, the inspector may be able to notice them with a flow test.