Author Topic: Shock well before or after testing?  (Read 1110 times)

Mgmny

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Shock well before or after testing?
« on: November 15, 2021, 09:24:47 AM »
Should we should our well before or after water testing?

Recently acquired a property with a well and we want to make sure the water is safe. My father thinks we should shock the well with bleach before sending the water off for testing to see if the shock worked.

I feel like we should send it for testing to see if a shock is necessary before doing it and to see what bacteria (if any) we are dealing with prior to shocking it and potentially missing out on some important information in the results. My understanding is that shocks are probably not permanent and may need to be performed on a regular basis if there is an issue. I would like to know if there is an issue before shocking and potentially skewing the results.

I know the "correct" answer might be to test before and after, but the local lab wants something like $270 each round, and that is steep to perform more than once!!

JLee

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2021, 09:26:52 AM »
https://www.raritanheadwaters.org/get-involved-2/groundwater-well-testing/

If it were me, I would test for everything possible right out of the gate and go from there.

uniwelder

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2021, 09:35:05 AM »
Is there any other testing lab option?  My university cooperative extension does well water testing for $40.  Could you ask a well drilling company who they recommend? 

Mgmny

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2021, 10:00:48 AM »
Is there any other testing lab option?  My university cooperative extension does well water testing for $40.  Could you ask a well drilling company who they recommend?

I'm in Minnesota and just using what our department of health has for accredited labs. The closest is #23: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/docs/wells/waterquality/labmap.pdf

I can see if the others are cheaper. I found an online company that would do it for $150, but that is still pretty steep to run 2x, i guess.

Mgmny

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2021, 10:04:05 AM »
https://www.raritanheadwaters.org/get-involved-2/groundwater-well-testing/

If it were me, I would test for everything possible right out of the gate and go from there.

Your testing seems more reasonable - looks like i need to be local to use that company though as it requires me to pick up the kit from them. Just like the company near me - you have to physically pickup and drop off sample, which is why i thought of just going to the nearest place.


Rural

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2021, 05:05:05 PM »
Test first - you may not even need to shock. And Google the state flagship university - they likely have an agricultural extension, and it likely will test the water for a fraction of that cost.

Mgmny

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2021, 07:32:43 AM »
Test first - you may not even need to shock. And Google the state flagship university - they likely have an agricultural extension, and it likely will test the water for a fraction of that cost.

Good point. The University of Minnesota redirects me to the department of health who directs me to the expensive private lab....

https://www.wrc.umn.edu/water-testing


uniwelder

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2021, 07:37:56 AM »
Test first - you may not even need to shock. And Google the state flagship university - they likely have an agricultural extension, and it likely will test the water for a fraction of that cost.

Good point. The University of Minnesota redirects me to the department of health who directs me to the expensive private lab....

https://www.wrc.umn.edu/water-testing

Your best answer may come from a local well drilling company.  If you explain your situation, they might have a good recommendation.

lthenderson

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2021, 08:56:48 AM »
I too would test first before doing anything. If you shock, you are always going to wonder if you have good water or was it due to the shock. You also won't answer the question of what is contaminated, the well or the ground water coming into the well. If it is the former, shocking will fix it. If the latter, you need a continuous chlorination drip to treat.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2021, 06:06:24 AM »
You are right the correct answer is test before and if there is an issue that requires shocking after shocking.

The test before and after shocking do not have to be the same. Before you should test for pretty much everything, bacteria, lead, arsenic, ph, nitrates, total dissolved solids, uranium, fluoride, manganese, radon, and probably a few other things I am forgetting off the top of my head. (Many of those it is recommended that you have checked on an on going basis some yearly and some every 5 years.) A couple more specific items, if you live in an area where road salt is commonly used you might want to check for salt intrusion and in some cases you may also want to look for petroleum products. 

Only the bacteria is capable of being addressed by shocking with chlorine (and most wells are fine). So if you do need to shock you would only need to retest for bacteria. You'd also want to look for obvious sources of bacterial contamination and correct them (things like a missing or damaged well cap). Personally, if bacteria was positive I would test immediately after shock to ensure the shocking was successful and some period of time later (say 6 months) to ensure that there is not an ongoing source of contamination.

All of the other type of contamination are going to require some form of treatment to address. That could be things like filtration or aeration.

While not a contaminate I would also make sure to get the hardness of the water tested.

270 is high, here are the prices of a Lab in my state.

Standard Test - $65.00

Total Coliform & E. coli Bacteria, Nitrate, Iron, Chloride, Manganese, Hardness, pH, Sodium

Standard Plus Arsenic Test - $90.00

"Standard" test as listed above plus Arsenic

Comprehensive Test - $125.00

Total Coliform & E. coli Bacteria, Nitrate, Nitrite, Iron, Chloride, Manganese, Hardness, pH, Sodium, Arsenic, Fluoride, Copper, Lead, Conductivity, Alkalinity

Comprehensive Test Plus Radon - $150.00

Comprehensive Test Plus Radon

While the cost might seem high, especially when you have to run the test a few times. Consider it part of the cost of acquiring the property, like purchase price, inspections, title insurance, taxes, recording fees, and the like. Then consider the periodic tests part of the ongoing expenses like maintenance and utilities; in fact just think of it as your water bill.

Edit: That same lab charges $25 for the Total Coliform & E. coli Bacteria test.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2021, 06:24:01 AM by BudgetSlasher »

Mgmny

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2021, 09:22:16 AM »
You are right the correct answer is test before and if there is an issue that requires shocking after shocking.

The test before and after shocking do not have to be the same. Before you should test for pretty much everything, bacteria, lead, arsenic, ph, nitrates, total dissolved solids, uranium, fluoride, manganese, radon, and probably a few other things I am forgetting off the top of my head. (Many of those it is recommended that you have checked on an on going basis some yearly and some every 5 years.) A couple more specific items, if you live in an area where road salt is commonly used you might want to check for salt intrusion and in some cases you may also want to look for petroleum products. 

Only the bacteria is capable of being addressed by shocking with chlorine (and most wells are fine). So if you do need to shock you would only need to retest for bacteria. You'd also want to look for obvious sources of bacterial contamination and correct them (things like a missing or damaged well cap). Personally, if bacteria was positive I would test immediately after shock to ensure the shocking was successful and some period of time later (say 6 months) to ensure that there is not an ongoing source of contamination.

All of the other type of contamination are going to require some form of treatment to address. That could be things like filtration or aeration.

While not a contaminate I would also make sure to get the hardness of the water tested.

270 is high, here are the prices of a Lab in my state.

Standard Test - $65.00

Total Coliform & E. coli Bacteria, Nitrate, Iron, Chloride, Manganese, Hardness, pH, Sodium

Standard Plus Arsenic Test - $90.00

"Standard" test as listed above plus Arsenic

Comprehensive Test - $125.00

Total Coliform & E. coli Bacteria, Nitrate, Nitrite, Iron, Chloride, Manganese, Hardness, pH, Sodium, Arsenic, Fluoride, Copper, Lead, Conductivity, Alkalinity

Comprehensive Test Plus Radon - $150.00

Comprehensive Test Plus Radon

While the cost might seem high, especially when you have to run the test a few times. Consider it part of the cost of acquiring the property, like purchase price, inspections, title insurance, taxes, recording fees, and the like. Then consider the periodic tests part of the ongoing expenses like maintenance and utilities; in fact just think of it as your water bill.

Edit: That same lab charges $25 for the Total Coliform & E. coli Bacteria test.

This is an amazing write up. Thank you so much!!

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2022, 01:58:10 PM »
How did it go?  What are your results?  Did you end up shocking and testing again?

Mgmny

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2022, 08:24:31 AM »
How did it go?  What are your results?  Did you end up shocking and testing again?

So the well is actually on my parents property. They decided to shock it anyways without getting it tested, which i explained to them was foolish and counter-intuitive based on the feedback from this thread. My father doesn't want to pay the fee twice, so he is hoping that now that it's been shocked, they can have the water tested - which they still haven't done, which i again, have told them is foolish. I mean, yes, things are probably OK, but the really, how would they know?!

Thanks again for all the help. I can report back once i see the results and then I'll follow up in 5 years when they start having water problems because the shock wore off and they didnt' realize they had a contaminated source.

Sanitary Engineer

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Re: Shock well before or after testing?
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2022, 08:27:49 AM »
Bummer.  I love water and data.

Thanks for the update!