The EPA regulates public water systems. However, it does not regulate private drinking water supplies. Maida Commercial & Home Inspection Services offers Water Quality and Water Quantity Testing performed at the same time as a commercial or home inspection in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, because many homes are dependent upon private water supplies or wells.
A water quality test will give you information as to the parameters of the water. The EPA sets water quality standards that public drinking water supplies must meet. Private wells are not regulated, but the EPA standards are widely "recommended". There are primary standards, which are related to health, and secondary standards, which pertain to aesthetic qualities of the water, like taste or staining characteristics.
A water quantity test will give you information on how much water output you will receive from the well. Testing is performed if you have concerns about possible insufficient water supply, consistent output, possible well and/or pump failure and whether the pump is currently functioning properly. The industry standards for water quantity are listed below.
If you have scheduled a home inspection and are buying, selling, or own a home on a private well, Maida Services can perform water quality testing at the same time as the home inspection.
Many contaminents such as Arsenic, Radon in the Water and Lead may only be determined by laboratory testing the water quality. (See Water Test Pricing for additional parameters.) The general quality of your water can be determined by comparing the "results" of your water test to the "standards" or recommended value in your laboratory report. If your water's value exceeds the recommended "standard", you might want to consider ways to filter or clean up the water.
Maida Services began providing water quantity testing on private water supplies (residential wells) several years ago because of market demand. Because this test can reveal such things as pump failure, drop in pressure and gpm, insufficient water supply, loss of water pressure, sediment in water (which could clog water filtration systems), etc., we require our client (the home buyer, seller or owner) to sign a contract stating that permission has been obtained to perform this test.
In the event that any of the above stated conditions occur during the test, we accept no liability. The purpose of this test is to reveal these potential problems. If any of these conditions occur, we recommend further evaluation and repair by a qualified well company. We do not provide referrals for this work.
It is generally accepted that a private well should produce a minimum of 5 gallons per minute (gpm), and should maintain that quantity for a period of at least 4 hours.
- The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, in their Fact Sheet (Technical Bulletin WSPCD-WSEB-1995-3) states, "A typical household requires approximately 5 gallons per minute (gpm) to meet modest domestic water needs…"
- The United States Department of Agriculture, Farmers Home Administration Guidelines require a minimum well yield of 1,200 gallons for a four hour period (5 gpm).
Persons who question the validity of a 4 hour test should consider that a few loads of laundry and watering the lawn could easily stress the well for 4 hours.