well tests positive for total coliform


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Old 06-29-15, 08:02 PM
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well tests positive for total coliform

I sure would like to know the outcome of Jeli2675 well issues... I'm having my own right now.
In the middle of escrow, lived in the house for 35 years, no well problems except a pump replacement twice or 3 times... everyone drinks the water (no jokes about the koolaid please, LOL) no one has ever gotten sick...

and yet the well test shows coliform, 2nd test after shocking, per instructions found online and my water guy... still coliform showing... so trying a third time, this week he'll be back on Wed to re-test with hopes of third times the charm. Sitting with cholinated water in the system overnight into mid day tomorrow.

the well head is above ground, there are no livestock in the area, the septic is down hill from the well, the well is a low producer, 1.6 gpm. I do not know depth with the exception of the pump being at about 200 feet. I'm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. AND NONE of my neighbors do anything like testing yearly. and other houses have sold in the area with in the last 6 months.

I can't even remember if it was even tested 35 years ago... and the state board does not even show this well exists.

Escrow closes in 3 weeks and I'm afraid.

Any help would be appreciated... sorry for the long winded posting.
 
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Old 06-30-15, 03:56 AM
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I would suspect the water distribution system more than the well itself.

Using water from the sanitized well, let it sit undisturbed overnight in the faucet chosen for drawing the sample. Let the treated water from the well spend the night in that pipe after letting it run until your nose can detect the odor of bleach; then let it sit. Laboratories are supposed to reject any sample that comes in containing any chlorine; so before the sample is drawn, it will have to run until all traces of chlorine are gone.

Do not use a moveable sink spigot (like a kitchen swivel) as the source for your sample.

Remove the strainer/screen and douse the inside of the faucet with bleach or denatured alcohol before drawing . . . . and make sure you also get any rubber gasket out of the end too !

Coliform bacteria is all around us; but the e.coli is the real culprit (which you don't have) . . . . and it only originates in the gastro-intestinal tract of mammals.

The simpler the chosen faucet, the better. And one that is used solely for cold water is best. I'm no bacteriologist or anything of the sort . . . . just a Real Estate Broker who's done hundreds (thousands?) of water tests and overcome many such failures . . . . and more often than not, it has been the lack of care in dealing with the obvious right there at the point of distribution that has caused the bulk of our problems.

Good Luck.
 
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Old 06-30-15, 09:36 AM
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Unhappy thanks

Thanks Vermont,
The first failed test was taken from the water flowing directly out of the well, pre shock treatment. I was blown away with the results. Having a 35 year history here with no water issues except the low flow or lack of...

The 2nd test was taken from the kitchen sink, yes the screen etc was still on when he took the water sample, but after he had "soaked" the faucet with a bleach solution, this failed also, coliform bacteria again...

I'm currently shocking the system for a 2nd time and the water guy will be out tomorrow (Wed) to take a new sample... the well, pipe, etc are chlorinated and not being used, it will be 24 hours this afternoon, and I'll probably wait until tomorrow morning to attempt to flush the chlorine out, just prior to the water guy showing up.

If it fails again I'll give the buyers a choice of money off the price for them to add a filtration/chlorination system, that way they could bring in bottled water for drinking and food issues or add a system or chance the water based on my history of it not being a problem except showing up on some crazy water test.

Thanks again...
 
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Old 06-30-15, 10:54 AM
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As an aside, remember that all of that chlorine winds up in your septic system, so make sure you don't kill off all of the beneficial bacteria colonies in it.

That has been an unintended consequence with some of the wells I have experience with . . . . one guy treated his well with a shock treatment intended for a swimming pool, and it took a month before the dead septic system could be brought back to life for the new Owners.
 
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Old 06-30-15, 01:28 PM
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Hi wa Ė

Is there any way there is a break in the pipe from your wellhead to the house? A break which is being masked by a check valve? The old galvanized pipe from my wellhead to the house broke wide open and hence my pump was running non-stop.

When I dug the old pipe up and replaced it, I could see that it must have been leaking for a long time, until finally the break got so bad it was unusable. What I mean is that I have a check valve at the pressure tank, and so even though the pipe had a break, enough water could get to the house to satisfy the pressure Ė and hence satisfy the pressure switch and so the pump would shut off as expected. I had no idea the pipe was leaking because the check valve keeps water from flowing backwards toward the well (and my check valve was/is at the pressure tank).

After I replaced the pipe I saw that it then took a lot less time, less than it had for years, to pump up the pressure tank because no pumped water was being lost to the ground, confirming that the leak must have existed for a long time.

The reason I say all this is because I believe somewhere I read that all it takes is a break in the pipe to contaminate the water with coliform. If shock chlorination isnít eliminating your problem I wonder if there isnít an opening somewhere in the piping between the well head and the house that is being masked Ė somehow.

A real long shot but I thought Iíd throw that out.

Good luck with the house. Vermont would know better but I donít think that problem would prevent someone from buying your house if they really like it Ė it didnít stop me, lol. (mine solved with a UV filter).
 
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Old 06-30-15, 01:39 PM
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Moved posts to their own thread. It is always better to start a new thread then jumping on an old one. Less confusing and new thread gets the attention it deserves. Here is the old thread for reference: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/we...hat-do-do.html
 
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Old 06-30-15, 10:32 PM
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Thanks everyone

Thanks for the new thread and all of the other input.

Zoesdad, I have such low water production, less than 2 gpm, and no shut off valves, so i'd have a burned out pump it that was the case. but thanks for the input. I've thought that it could be a crack in the well lining, since the first test came straight from the well.

And Vermont, I've taken steps to keep as little as possible going into the septic, all of the household flushing took place thru outside faucets, after using test strips for chlorine at each inside faucet to limit the amount coming into the septic. Also since I've got an outside hot water faucet from an old washer connection I used that to empty the hot water heater before the start of the flush, the hot water seemed heavily chlorinated so it was good to drain it that way and wait until no chlorine in the system before refilling.

The offer to the potential buyers will depend on how they receive the news. drop the price some for them to add a system or they can walk or who knows...

Thanks again for all of your input and support...
 
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Old 07-01-15, 07:09 AM
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Dont know how your shocking the well but your need to run the water back down the well for several hours.

Its will take a whole day to get the bleach out of the well when your done with your testing..

How much bleach did you add? It all depends on the size of casing and such....
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 07-01-15 at 08:46 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old 07-03-15, 03:41 PM
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Smile update

Yippy!!! it passed. also this sample was taken directly from the well, after and 2nd effort of chlorination.

Thanks for everyone's input, it looks like it really will close on 7-21. I'll never be a home owner again, especially in California. It is outrageous how many have their fingers in your pie in order to get a piece of it.

I'll be traveling the country, visiting and hopefully volunteering with campgrounds and visitor centers in our National Parks.

Happy Birthday to America and God Bless us all.
 
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Old 07-03-15, 04:16 PM
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Great, Congratulations to you on that short-cut (eliminating the distribution system altogether) !
 
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Old 07-04-15, 08:08 AM
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Good news!!!!! Great. Have a happy fourth and fun traveling .
 
 

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