Unsatisfactory Analysis

The most important thing to remember when one receives an unsatisfactory water sample is "do not drink the water" because there could be harmful bacteria present in the water supply. Depending on the results of the water analysis, the following actions should occur (see Tables 2 and 3):

Table 2: Bacteriological Results

Results Actions Remarks

No total coliform bacteria. No E. coli bacteria. Results reported as A, A.

None. 

Water meets the standards for drinking water.

Positive coliform.
E. coli bacteria. Results reported as P, A.

Excessive bacterial growth present. No coliforms present. Invalid sample. Results reported as G.

Either chlorinate or flush the water system 1-2 days and make arrangements for the collection of a re-sample. In most situations you will need to chlorinate.

See following notes: 1,2,3,4.

Positive coliform. Positive E. coli bacteria. Results reported as P, P.

Chlorinate the water well and distribution system, make arrangements for the collection of a resample after the chlorine has dissipated from the water well.

See following notes: 2,3,4,5.

Table 3: Nitrate/Nitrite Results

Results Actions Remarks

Nitrate is less than or equal to 10 mg/L

Nitrite is less than or equal to 1 mg/L

None

Level meets the standards of drinking water.

Nitrate is greater than 10 mg/L

Nitrite is greater than 1 mg/L

Flush the water system 1-2 days and make arrangements for the collection of a re-sample.

If after flushing you still obtain these results contact a water treatment company to install the necessary treatment to reduce nitrate levels.

See following notes: 2(b)

If after treatment, satisfactory nitrate levels cannot be obtained, it may be necessary to construct a new water well and abandon the existing old well.
Notes On Water Sample Results

1) If you obtain unsatisfactory or invalid sample results, you may choose to flush or             chlorinate the water well and distribution system. After the water well has been                 chlorinated the chlorine must be flushed from the water well prior to the collection of a     re-sample.

2) If any of the following circumstances have occurred, a satisfactory sample of the             water must be obtained prior to final approval of the water well.

    a) The presence of coliform bacteria is confirmed in a water sample. Coliform                       bacteria may be an indicator that more harmful organisms are present. When                 coliform bacteria are present the water does not meet the standards for drinking             water and should not be consumed.

     b) When the nitrate is >10 mg/L and/or the nitrite is >1mg/L the water does not meet           the standards for drinking water and should not be consumed by pregnant women           and infants less than 6 months of age. 

3) When the water distribution system is flushed, the LCHD recommends that you run          the water for several hours. Running the water should not damage the pump, but it is      best to consult your water well contractor if you have concerns.

4) Remember, if your residence is served by a septic system, the distribution system           should be flushed from an outside spigot. Attach a garden hose and run the water           away from your septic system.

5) If E. coli bacteria are confirmed to be present in your water supply, you should                 chlorinate the well and plumbing system immediately. E. coli bacteria are found in the     intestines of animals and man and increase the likelihood that disease-causing               organisms are present in the water.