Check Your Water System as a New Year Resolution

Check Your Water System as a New Year Resolution

well in winter
Annual testing of private drinking water systems, like this home well, is a good plan to monitor your water quality.

The new year is a time where we all make goals and a plan of attack for the upcoming 12 months.  We often think of things we will do to improve our health, save money or be more organized in all or part of our daily lives. One way to take steps to be more organized and also protect your and others’ health, as well as the environment, is to get reacquainted with your water system - both your drinking well and your on-site wastewater system - and to establish a testing and maintenance schedule for the upcoming months.

Testing Your Drinking Water

Unlike municipal or community water systems, there are generally not requirements for regular tests for drinking water quality in private drinking water supplies.  Your water supply may have been tested when your well was dug or when you purchased the property but quality can change through time.  Because of that potential for change, you should set an annual testing schedule for contaminants such as nitrate and total coliform/E.coli.   You also should consider testing for any other specific contaminants such as naturally occurring metals which may have been indicated in prior testing.

Wastewater System Maintenance

Care and maintenance of your on-site wastewater system is a major component of safeguarding your health, your water supply and the environment.  Regular care and maintenance can also help protect your bank account.  If you have a septic system and your system has not been pumped within at least the last 3 years (systems can vary greatly dependent upon the number of people, system design, and use) you should contact a certified professional to have the tank emptied and system evaluated.

Site Plan

It is also a great time to make sure you have a copy of your site plan readily available. A site plan shows where your wastewater system, well and other features of your property are located and is key for professionals who assist you with system evaluation and maintenance. It is also important for you to reference as you make landscaping decisions or changes to features of your property.

For more information on testing, care and maintenance of your water system, visit Water.unl.edu - Treated Water.

Meghan Sittler
Meghan Sittler
Extension Educator - Domestic Water & Wastewater

Meghan's education includes a master's degree in natural resources with minors in political science and environmental planning. She also has a graduate certification in public policy analysis, as well as undergraduate degrees in environmental studies and anthropology from UNL. Her graduate project was focused on the development of collaborative and adaptive management for the Missouri River.

Sittler began as coordinator of the Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance in December 2008. Prior to that, Sittler worked for the National Park Service as an archaeological technician, an environmental educator with the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department, an adviser and instructor with the UNL Environmental Studies program and School of Natural Resources and as a research and outreach specialist for the National Drought Mitigation Center. Meghan began her work as a Nebraska Extension Educator focussing on water in 2016.

Lancaster County Extension Office
444 Cherrycreek Rd
Lincoln NE 68528-1591
402-441-7180