Do you have water treatment equipment in your home? Do you NEED water treatment equipment in your home? Surveys have found that about 60 percent of the homes in Pennsylvania served by a private water system such as a well, spring, or cistern, have some type of water treatment equipment.
Today, almost any water quality problem can be fixed by purchasing the appropriate equipment. However, residents with private water systems are often uninformed about water treatment processes and equipment, making them susceptible to unscrupulous business practices of some treatment vendors.
If you suspect that you have a problem with your water, have it tested by a state-accredited water testing laboratory and be certain to take the water sample prior to your treatment equipment. If test results show that your drinking water failed a primary, health-based drinking water standard, such as bacteria or lead, action should be taken to correct the problem to protect the health of you and your family.
Other water tests may indicate a problem from a secondary pollutant such as iron or manganese. In this case, your health is not at risk, but you may choose to install water treatment equipment to reduce stains, tastes, or odors that these pollutants can cause.
After receiving your test results from the lab, it is a good idea to go over the results with an unbiased water quality expert either from the lab or from your local Penn State Extension office. They can help you interpret the test results and provide advice on options available to fix any water quality problem.
Once you have decided that treatment is the best solution to your problem, become an educated consumer and know which treatment devices will solve your problem before you approach treatment vendors.
Always seek reputable water treatment companies that will provide you with local customer references. Research the company history and look for those that have been established in the area for several years to avoid fly-by-night operations that are common in the water treatment business.
Some water treatment vendors may use colorful home water tests or other methods to scare or pressure homeowners into buying water treatment equipment on the spot. Be cautious of companies using this strategy. Take your time and consult with other experts and other treatment vendors to get second and third opinions.
Purchasing water treatment equipment can be expensive and can also be complicated by regular maintenance requirements. Make sure that you fully understand the maintenance requirements of all equipment before you make the purchase. Determine what maintenance will be done by the treatment company and what your responsibility will be.
The cost of water treatment equipment varies considerably depending on the type of unit, size, pretreatment requirements and installation. Prices can range from $20 to several thousand dollars, so you need to be absolutely certain what type of problem you have and what treatment is appropriate.
Remember; approach any water treatment purchase carefully after receiving a water test report from an unbiased source. Get multiple estimates from reputable companies. Once you have made a decision, get everything in writing including a detailed warranty and maintenance agreement.
For more information, or to attend a workshop on this topic, visit the Water Testing and Treatment webpage on the Penn State Water Resources website.
(Written By: Dana Rizzo, Water Resources Educator, Penn State Extension, and reprinted from Penn State Extension Watersheds Winds newsletter.)