Private Drinking Water Supplies: Quality, Testing, and Options for Problem Waters (NRAES 47)
Mancl, Karen; Sailus, Martin; Wagenet, Linda
More than 14 million households nationwide depend on their own well, spring, or cistern to supply water for home use. Groundwater supplies more than 95% of domestic rural water needs. Groundwater also may provide water for livestock or irrigation. The quality of groundwater can be threatened by private sewage disposal systems as well as past and present industrial, municipal, and agricultural practices. Natural processes also affect water quality. Water testing is the only way to be sure that a water supply is safe. Individuals using public water supplies pay for water testing and treatment as part of their water bills. In most states, regulations mandate neither water testing nor treatment of private water supplies. Some states mandate water testing when a new well is drilled or when property is sold. Individuals supplying their own water must arrange for water testing; if their water has unsafe or undesirable characteristics, they must take the initiative to correct the problem. Individuals supplying their own water must be aware of potential dangers to their water supplies and of methods to assure the supplies are safe. This bulletin reviews the currently accepted standards for drinking water safety and domestic use. It provides information on testing water for contamination as well as on land use practices that may affect water quality. The bulletin also reviews options for improving the quality of problem waters or for developing new supplies. Appendix C contains information on water quality for livestock and poultry.
This 60 page publication (NRAES-47) was originally published by the Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service (NRAES, later known as the Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service), a multi-university program in the Northeast US disbanded in 2011. Plant and Life Sciences Publishing (PALS) was subsequently formed to manage the NRAES catalog. Ceasing operations in 2018, PALS was a program of the Department of Horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Cornell University. PALS assisted university faculty in publishing, marketing and distributing books for small farmers, gardeners, land owners, workshops, college courses, and consumers.
Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service (NRAES)
Drinking Water; Drinking Water Standards; Water Supply
Previously Published As
Mancl, K., Sailus, M., & Wagenet, L. (1991). Private drinking water supplies: quality, testing, and options for problem waters. Ithaca, NY: Northeast Regional Agricultural Engineering Service, Cooperative Extension.
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