Many homes use private wells to supply their water. Since these wells are usually out of sight and out of mind, homeowners tend to forget to check the quality of their water. Nonetheless, water quality is an important issue that directly affects the health of the people in the home. As an inspector I can attest that in the Gainesville and surrounding counties, a fair number of homes have had a water quality problem.
Usually bacterial or inorganic substances make the water less suitable for consumption. Often it is because the property was vacant for a considerable period, but sometimes it is simply the specific area in which the home is located.
Water tests are often a part of the home inspections that I perform but if you are not considering a home inspection, there are ways that you can ensure the safety of your home on your own. The Alachua County Department of Environmental Health has a lab in Gainesville that performs these tests on water samples.
Simply go to the Health Department and get your sample bottles. They will give you instructions as to how to take the samples and how to keep the samples cool until brought to the lab. The samples must be tested quickly after the samples are taken to insure accurate results. I take two samples, one at the well and one in the house. In this way I am able to determine if the problem is coming from the well or is unique to the home’s plumbing. Take your water samples to the Department of Environmental Health lab. For a fee, your home inspector can take your samples for you. In either case, the results are completed within one or two days. If your results come back testing positive for certain bacteria, the Health Department will advise you on remediation recommendations.
Since water is such an important part of our everyday lives, especially in our homes, it is critical to make sure your water is clean and safe. If you have any suspicions about the quality or safety of your water, get samples taken to the Environmental Health lab. It is easy and it makes sure this essential part of your everyday life is safe for you and your loved ones to use.