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Real Estate sales depend on Healthy Waters Print E-mail
Monday, 04 September 2006
As population continues to slump it's important to learn about how to choose a well-water property when you don't have city services.   When choosing a piece of property with a well on it, the first thing you should have your buyer do is to get an independent, certified laboratory to test the water before the sale is final.

While there is no denying that location is the holy grail of real estate, water is the lifeblood, especially in residential properties. In rural areas the water often comes from private wells, and the quality of that groundwater is directly related to the quality of family life -- and even property values.

Given that water from private wells is influenced directly by surrounding metals, chemicals and compounds, it is often unsafe unless properly treated or filtered. Tainted water that is used for drinking or even showering, cooking or gardening can endanger a family's health, especially over long-time use. It should also be a red flag to prospective buyers of a property. If a problem is found, it should be determined beforehand that the water can be treated in some way to make it healthy.

Consequently, it is vital to health and property that water from residential wells is sampled and analyzed thoroughly. With so much at stake, this is a job for independent, certified laboratories -- not for quickie test kits or a lab that also sells water treatment equipment, a sure indicator of conflict of interest. Even if water is not odorous and tastes fine, it is still quite possible that it contains trace metals or chemicals that could be debilitating to health or even fatal if consumed or used for long periods.

Homes with private wells are often susceptible to contamination by toxic chemicals and compounds that give water an unpleasant taste or odor. Since those problems involve high levels of chemicals or impurities, they are often easily detected by cursory "quick" testing. Yet, water that has been quick-tested has probably only been analyzed for high levels of a limited number of impurities. Limited testing does not approach what should be a major concern among private well users -- the long-term affects of chemical exposure and trace heavy metals such as lead.

Well water conditions change continually, so Neilson recommends that wells be tested semi-annually. Testing should be performed by a certified lab, rather than with quick-test kits sold in stores or by a company that sells filtration equipment.

"There are areas in some parts of the state where there are high levels of arsenic and other toxic contaminates in the groundwater," Neilson continues. "Your body stores them, so if you drink the water for any length of time, it's possible that it could create serious disabilities or even be fatal."

Edwina Baniqued

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