A City Girl in the Country: Well Water

Shortly before I began working for Mariya, my husband and I purchased a home five miles outside the city limits of Champaign. Relocating to a rural landscape meant many city services that I had previously taken for granted would no longer be available. So many things about owning a home in the country are different than in town and we were advised to inspect and test some things before we purchased a rural property.  In my next few blog posts I will share some of the many things like like clean water, sewer systems, garbage/recycling service, cable/internet connection, and backyard critters. For me, the biggest change was having to think about where our water would come from. Since the day I was born, clean water had always just magically appeared out of the faucet.

When we started looking at rural properties, the house info sheets said “Well” so we had a water source. Done. It turns out, that was only the beginning. My husband wanted to make sure the well actually had water at the bottom and that the pump which brings it up to the house worked. Apparently drilling a new well can be very expensive ($5,000-10,000) and would definitely affect the offer price we would make on a property. Because the house was surrounded by corn/soybean fields and I saw the neighbor kept horses, I wanted to get the well water tested for nitrates from fertilizers, bacteria from animal waste, and arsenic. I found the following websites very helpful:


We arranged to have a well inspector come out at the same time the home inspector was scheduled to be there. The well guy told us that our well was deep and had a good level of water in it. Also, the water pump and pressure tanks were in good working order and capable of supplying excellent pressure for our needs. We could take a shower, flush a toilet, run the dishwasher, and wash clothes all at the same time without a problem. The only issue he found was that after decades of landscaping, the original well head (where the pump is housed) was now so close to the ground that we risked contaminating the well with groundwater run-off.  We ended up paying $400 to have it raised.

To have the quality of the water tested, you must collect a sample in a specific way to ensure you are testing the well water and not the faucet from which you obtain the water.  I’d heard that the sampling instructions are easy to follow but we decided to have the well inspector collect it for us and then send it off to a certified lab for testing. Five days later we found out that the well water was usable. No arsenic, no nitrates and no coliform bacteria.  While looking up the links I included above, I saw a recommendation that private wells be tested for coliform every year and nitrates every 2-3 years; seems I need to stop typing to get my water tested again. Now!

In my next post I will discuss the second biggest change for this city girl: having to treat water once it is inside the house.  While not harmful, there are several things in well water that do affect the color, smell and taste. Why does my water turn brown after a minute or two and smell like rusty nails mixed with rotten eggs?

Admin Assistant for the AroundCU Team

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