Clean Water Through Soil Sampling

How Soil Sampling Benefits Water Well Monitoring

Whether you’re drinking tap water or well water, its quality needs to be monitored regularly. With tap water, the city or local government regularly tests for contaminants like petroleum, heavy metals and other pollutants. However, private water well testing is left up to the individual.

Monitoring the health of your water well can be as easy as taking soil samples in conjunction with water sample testing. Contamination in the soil often means contamination in the water well itself, which makes the water unsafe to drink. Testing samples regularly warns you if there are any toxins in the area. Our compact soil sampling drills give you the option to dig into water well monitoring without breaking the bank.

Why Monitor Water Well Health?

Instead of the chemical treatments tap water goes through to remain clean, well water goes through natural filtration such as sand and rock. Typically, water wells are built with protections against contaminants, which is where the water well casing comes in. Well caps and sanitary seals can help prevent contaminants from getting into the well. Another way to protect against well contamination is by disinfecting the water well at least once per year.

However, this doesn’t mean that your well is 100% protected against both what is already present in the surrounding soil and what can leach into the soil over time. While you can often find additional minerals in well water — like calcium or magnesium — harmful bacteria, microorganisms, petroleum, heavy metals or other pollutants can also sneak in.

Monitoring water well health allows you to find these contaminants before they result in health issues. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends collecting water samples at least once a year to ensure the well is free of harmful substances. However, there are cases in which you should test more often. For example, the EPA also recommends testing for nitrate throughout pregnancy, before bringing the infant home and during the first six months of the baby’s life.

What to Look for When Monitoring Water Wells

Split Spoon Soil SamplerChemicals, road salt, bacteria, viruses and fertilizer often find their way into groundwater sources. Geotechnical soil sampling determines the chemical and physical properties of the earth and can detect these contaminants by providing information on the soil texture, pH levels, soil nutrients and more. When paired with water sample testing, soil sampling can be a warning system to let you know if contaminants are in the area. The most dangerous contaminants don’t have a smell or taste at all. Arsenic, lead, bacteria and other contaminants aren’t easily recognized, which means you might not know if your well water is compromised until either the next testing cycle or someone gets sick.

While regular soil sampling is recommended, there are some signs that you should test the water in your well immediately. If the water is a darker color than normal or smells odd or someone using the well starts to experience diarrhea, bloating, vomiting, abdominal pain or other health issues that don’t have an explanation, test your water well.

Contaminated wells often need to have filters installed. UV filters remove bacteria while reverse osmosis (RO) filters remove arsenic, metals and other contaminants. If contaminants are detected, speak with a professional about what type of filtration system you need to keep your water safe.

How to Soil Sample for Well Monitoring

While there are geotechnical testing technicians that come out and complete soil sampling for a price, these labs aren’t always conveniently available in rural areas — and not all water wells can wait for someone else to come in and take samples.

Soil sampling drills allow you to take your own samples and offer the maneuverability to fit into backyards, next to houses and through other tight spaces. Lone Star Drills offers a complete soil sampling drill line that gives you the tools you need to complete the project yourself. Whether you’re looking for a hollow stem auger to dig to deeper depths, a split spoon sampler for core sampling or simple hand tools for shallower depths, Lone Star Drills has it.

Our smaller mechanical and hydraulic earth drills can be used with hand sample tools. The split spoon sampler can provide core samples up to 24 inches deep while hollow stem augers are available for our smallest soil sampling drill, the LST1A+HD, with a drilling depth of 50 feet to our largest soil sampling drill, the LSGT+HDA, with a drilling depth of 100 feet.

While soil acidity can be tested at home, it’s best to send this type of soil sample into a testing lab for results. Getting the best results requires careful handling of the samples after they’re taken. This means keeping the soil samples in airtight containers, preferably in a cooler, until they can be refrigerated or sent to a lab. Make sure to keep detailed records of the soil sampling process to ensure the best results.

Proactive Monitoring

The city might monitor tap water, but water wells are a different story. If you suspect contaminants in your water, send in a soil and water sample today for testing. No matter what type of water you use, monitoring water quality is the key to a healthy lifestyle. To learn what type of soil sampling drill you need for your project, call Lone Star Drills today and speak to our experts.