Friday, April 3, 2009

How safe is your Private Well

Do you have your own well for your home? Have you ever had the water quality of the well tested?
Below is an article from the Deseret News on water quality issues in private wells. In wells I have personally tested in Summit and other rural counties, the largest contaminant of concern has been Nitrate and Coliform.

Private wells show traces of toxic contaminants

Published: Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:52 p.m. MDT

Utah was among those states across the country that had more than one contaminant discovered in a sampling of water taken from private domestic wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Sampling done from 1991 to 2004 in multiple private wells in Utah showed concentrations of nitrate and arsenic at levels that demonstrate potential health concern, according to a report released Friday.

Problematic is that the fact that across the country 15 percent of the population relies on drinking water from private wells which are not regulated by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

As a result, the agency said those 43 million people may be exposed to unhealthy levels of contaminants that pose public health risks.

In the survey, scientists sampled 2,100 private wells in 48 states. Many of the contaminants occur naturally because of geological factors and the materials that make up aquifers from which the water is drawn.

Nitrate was the most common inorganic contaminant found and it is generally derived from fertilizer applications and other agricultural uses. Water taken from Utah's wells tested for nitrate at concentrations greater than federal drinking water standards for public water supplies, a measurement that put Utah in company of just 4 percent of the wells sampled.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Water Wars

Living in the West, we picture water conflicts as a cowboy, rancher, or farmer diligently patrolling his ditch or canal to ensure he or she does not loose the water that is vital not only to economic survival but survival of of a era and lifestyle and survival of life itself.
Water is without a doubt the most precious of all natural resources, and has been not only in the few hundreds of year in the West, but for thousands of years throughout the world.
We are fortunate that water is one of the few renewable natural resources, but is also the most misused and abused vital resource.
Current and historic problem areas remain, China, The Middle East, and our own Las Vegas.
Below is a link to many articles dealing with this issue:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Difference Between a Water Right and a Water Share

There is a lot of confusion between the definition of a Water Right and a Water Share. For some reason the term Water Share seems to be used in real estate transactions regarding homes from a private well and water rights. In most private owned wells this is not the case. Below are the definitions of Water Right and Water Share from the Utah Division of Water Rights.

the right to use water diverted at a specific location on a water source, and putting it to recognized beneficial uses at set locations.
stock in a mutual irrigation company. Many irrigation companies exist in Utah which own water rights used by their share holders. The amount of water the company allows each share holder to divert is usually determined by the company stock shares owned or rented. Shares in an irrigation company are not water rights. The company collectively owns the water right(s), the benefits from which are distributed to the share holders. This is evidence of the holder's right to a portion of the water delivered by the company.
In short, if you are buying a home with a private well, it should have a Water Right. If you are buying a home with a secondary irrigation system (canal or pressurized irrigation) or a home that is set up on a private water system you will likely need a share(s) to go with it. It is of coarse much more complex than this, if you have any questions feel free to email me or call.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Drilling a well that "might" become part of a PWS at a later date?

Drilling a well in Utah, but not sure if it will be part of a public water system at a later date? Save yourself time and expense down the line and refer to the New Source Check list on the Utah Division of Drinking Water Website. Before drilling the well the steps are as follows:

-Project Notification Form
-Preliminary Evaluation Report (PER) submittal and concurrance
-Well Drilling Specifications and Plans
-Valid Start Card or authorization to drill letter from the Division of Water Rights

Included in the Well Drilling Specifications submitted to the DDW will be the witnessed installation of a 100 foot minimum sanitary (cement grout) seal.
You may be able to back into the PER/DWSP at a later date, but it is very costly and risky to install a sanitary seal after the well has been installed.
Look at the area you are planning on drilling with respect to potential contamination sources (PCS's). If you have a leach field, septic tank, lay down yard, or any other potential PCS near your proposed well consult with a specialist or call the State DDW. Better yet follow all of the steps prior to drilling and submit a PER and Engineering Specs to the State it will save you time an money in the long run.

I have personally ran into this issue before, it is a chicken and egg type situation, the State may not review the PER and Engineering Specs in a timely manner unless you are part of a Public Water System. But if your well turns from a private source, or and process water source to a culinary source at a later date, then you will need to meet all of the standards set fourth above. At the very least even though it will not be reviewed by the State, complete the PER and Engineering Specs and turn them in. This will give you a "heads" up to any issues you may have at a later date. My recommendation is to complete the PER, Engineering Specs, and install the Sanitary Seal in your well if you think there is even a remote chance of your well becoming a public source down the line.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Do you live on the Wasatch Fault.

Check out his video put together by the Utah Geological Survey. Do you live on the fault?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More on Snake Valley

Below is a link to more articles on the Snake Valley Carbonate Aquifer issues.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More on Snake Valley

Who should get water from the carbonate aquifer on the Utah / Nevada Border.
Snake Valley Article Deseret News
Still waiting for the issue of mining the water to be addressed as well as which state the water belongs to.