Our Blog

Maryland Well Water Statistics

According the University of Maryland, about 33.3 percent of all Maryland residents, or just over two million people, rely on private wells for their drinking water supply. Private wells can suffer from many of the same pollution problems as municipal water systems, with elevated levels of bacteria, viruses, pesticides, nitrates, heavy metals, and other contaminants.

However, unless a well serves more than 25 people, it does not need to be monitored according to federal or state laws. This leaves the responsibility of testing for and treating contamination to the well owner, and the EPA recommends testing well water at least once a year.

Well Water Contaminants

Because private wells are not required to be tested, the available data on well water contaminants is not as readily available as it is for municipal systems. In a study performed by the University of Maryland, 150 private wells were tested in Cecil, Kent, Montgomery, and Queen Anne’s County. The water from each was analyzed for total coliforms, fecal coliforms, E. Coli, Enterococcus, pH levels, nitrates, and arsenic. The study found that:

  • 25 percent of wells had coliform bacteria present
  • 15 percent had fecal coliform contamination
  • 5 percent tested positive for E. Coli
  • 5 percent tested positive for Enterococcus
  • The average nitrate level was 2.3 mg/L, also below EPA limits.
  • 75 percent of wells were outside of the recommended pH range

Overall, the study found that the levels were below the maximum EPA limits for these contaminants, meaning that the water was safe to drink. Groundwater studies from private wells in the Baltimore County area also show the water is below EPA levels for contaminants, but they indicate that 15 percent of wells have elevated levels of radionucleotides, such as Radium-226, as well as increasing levels of MTBE, a gasoline additive, and trace levels of pesticides.

Well contamination can vary highly from area to area, and it can change over time from pollution sources like agricultural runoff, sewage leaks, and chemical spills. Other possible contaminants include:

  • Heavy metals that can cause poisoning or illnesses
  • Magnesium and calcium that cause hard water
  • Acidic water that can cause corrosion and leach lead from pipes
  • Petroleum products and additives
  • Chemicals, nitrates, and pesticides
  • Sulfur compounds that cause odors
  • And more

To ensure that your Maryland home has safe, healthy water, you should have your well tested as often as possible, or at least once a year. If any problems are found, treatment solutions like water softeners, reverse osmosis, or UV sterilization may be able to correct the problem.

Water Testing & Treatment in the Baltimore, MD Area

If you are concerned about the quality of your well water, contact our team at Water Doctor today. We offer well water testing and analysis, as well as a full selection of water treatment solutions, from water softeners and active charcoal filtration to complete reverse osmosis systems. We have been serving homeowners and businesses throughout Maryland since 1979, and our experts are happy to help with all your water quality concerns.

Contact Water Doctor today at 877-677-9275 to schedule a well water test at your home or to learn more about our water treatment services!

What Are the Sources of Water Contamination?

The quality of your water can have a significant effect on your health and comfort, and whether you are connected to a municipal water system or you have a private well, contamination is possible from a number of sources. Although private wells are especially vulnerable, as treatment is the responsibility of the well owner, even municipal water systems can contain contaminants, either from insufficient water treatment or from post-treatment contamination in the delivery system or a building’s plumbing system.

Continue reading What Are the Sources of Water Contamination?

Are Water Softeners Bad for You?

For conditions like heart disease, many patients are advised by doctors to limit their sodium intake. This often entails avoiding processed foods that contain excess sodium and minimizing the addition of table salt during meals. But if you have hard water, you may wonder about the effects of your water softening system on your sodium intake, and whether it is a significant problem. In short, the answer is “No.” Water softening systems add a negligible amount of sodium, and the foods that you eat are, by far, the largest source of sodium in the average diet.

Continue reading Are Water Softeners Bad for You?

When to Replace Your Well Water Tank

Many homes in rural or suburban areas relay on private wells to provide water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other household uses. A typical well uses an electric pump to bring water into the home, often from significant depths, and that water is stored temporarily in a well water tank, also known as a pressure tank. Using a pocket of compressed air, the well water tank helps to maintain water pressure between pump cycles, and it stores several gallons of water to minimize pump usage when demand is high. A problem with the well water tank can cause the pump to cycle on and off frequently, which can lead to an expensive premature failure. Continue reading When to Replace Your Well Water Tank

How Much Distance Should Be Between My Septic Tank and My Well?

According to recommendations by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a septic tank should be at least 50 feet away from a well that is used for drinking water. This is also a requirement for a loan backed by the Federal Housing Authority, or FHA, though exceptions can be granted in some instances. The Code of Maryland Regulations requires specific distances for the distance between septic components and wells, and we outline these in the section below.

Continue reading How Much Distance Should Be Between My Septic Tank and My Well?

Well Water Information for Maryland Real Estate Agents

In Maryland, many homes in suburban or rural areas depend on a private well for water, rather than a municipal water system. As a real estate agent, this will create a few extra steps that must be taken when you are working with the seller or the buyer of a home to determine the condition of the well and its associated systems, as well as the quality of the water. The process is similar to scheduling a home inspection, and it can help to expedite the sales process when done correctly.

Continue reading Well Water Information for Maryland Real Estate Agents

Reasons to Test My Private Well Water

Many homes in suburban and rural areas rely on private wells for water, and unlike municipal water systems, the homeowner is responsible for testing the quality of the water and treating it, if necessary. While in many cases the quality of well water is as good or better than municipal water, there is always the possibility of contamination from your property or those around you, especially if you live near a farm, a manufacturing facility, a salvage yard or any other commercial enterprise. Water contamination can cause a number of comfort and health problems, ranging from water that has a poor taste, to gastrointestinal illnesses or heavy metal poisoning.

Continue reading Reasons to Test My Private Well Water

What is UV Water Filtration?

An ultra violet sterilization system employs ultraviolet light as a means to  kill harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, without affecting the taste of the water or adding objectionable odors. Compared to other solutions, UV water filtration systems are fast, effective and require a minimal amount of maintenance. They can be used in conjunction with other technologies, such sediment filters and reverse osmosis, to provide superior quality drinking water for your home.

Continue reading What is UV Water Filtration?