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.
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 - Residential Water Use.