Private water systems provide potable water, which is water that is suitable for drinking. In the state of Ohio private water systems are regulated by OAC 3701-28. The most common water supply for a home not served by a public water system is a private well.The following are some other examples of private water systems:
- Hauled water storage tank
Clean water is essential to maintaining a healthy home. The EPA has put together a list of common contaminents found in private water sources and how they can affect human health. Click here to learn more about each contaminant and what kinds of human activities can pollute ground water.
If you install, alter, or seal a well in Union County you must obtain a permit from the Union County Health Department. Feel free to download and fill out this form prior to coming to the office. Forms are also available at the office. Please contact the health department at (937) 642-2053 for any questions you may have.
Anyone in the business of working on private water systems in Ohio must be registered with the Ohio Department of Health as a Private Water Systems Contractor. As of April, 1 2011, homeowners who wish to construct, alter or seal their private water systems are now required to register without the bonding requirement. For a complete list of all active contractors registered with the Ohio Department of Health visit the Wells and Private Water Systems page.
For more information on your well, search the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.
According to the National Ground Water Association, here are some steps you can take to help protect your well:
- Wells should be checked and tested ANNUALLY for mechanical problems, cleanliness, and the presence of certain contaminants, such as coliform bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, and any other contaminants of local concern, (for example, arsenic and radon).
- Well water should be tested more than once a year if there are recurrent incidents of gastrointestinal illness among household members or visitors and/or a change in taste, odor, or appearance of the well water.
- All hazardous materials, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil, should be kept far away from your well.
- When mixing chemicals, do not put the hose inside the mixing container, as this can siphon chemicals into a household’s water system.
- Consult a professional contractor to verify that there is proper separation between your well, home, waste systems, and chemical storage facilities.
- Always check the well cover or well cap to ensure it is intact. The top of the well should be at least one foot above the ground.
- Once your well has reached its serviceable life (usually at least 20 years), have a licensed or certified water well driller and pump installer decommission the existing well and construct a new well.
If you are concerned about the water from your well, contact the Union County Health Department at (937) 642-2053. We offer bacterial water tests for $60.89. Additional tests may be available for additional cost.
Employees (sanitarians) of the Union County Health Department are available to take water samples from private wells. The sanitarian will need access to a working spigot in order to draw water into a lab-approved sterilized container. Residents should not bring in samples themselves.
Interpretation of your results
The Ohio State University in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio EPA have developed an online assessment tool that offers instant water quality interpretation for Ohio residents.
Water samples are typically taken for real-estate transfers or when there is concern the well might be contaminated (such as after flooding).
- If you have a water softener it should be by-passed. Remove the well cap or the vent pipe or plug if the well is equipped with a sanitary well seal.
- Pour one gallon of household bleach (5.25% chlorine) directly into well.
- Connect a hose to a house spigot and run water directly into the well until chlorine odor is present in the water. Run the water this way for 15 minutes.
- Shut off water supply to hose and proceed to systematically open each water fixture in the house. Let water run through each fixture until chlorine odor is present. Include both cold and hot water valves.
- Close all valves and pour another one gallon of bleach directly into the well. Recap the well or replace the vent pipe or plug. Leave all valves closed for a period of 12 hours or longer (toilets may be flushed if needed.)
- Open the hose spigot and discharge water to ground surface or drainage ditch until chlorine odor disappears. Open every household fixture and let water run until the chlorine odor is gone.
- The well should now be properly disinfected.