Why shocking your residential well is not the solution….
Recently, I was doing some research on micro-biologically contaminated residential wells, and I was shocked (pun intended) to learn what the most common corrective practice seemed to be – well shocking!
For those who don’t know, “shocking” is a process in which you inject very high amount of an oxidant (generally household bleach) into your well with dreams of destroying harmful organisms that may be lingering in the bottom. Something similar to what you would do when your backyard pool becomes cloudy.. But you wouldn’t drink that water…would you? Shocking or super chlorinating a water source does achieve the net result we are looking for and kills the “bugs” we don’t want, but is it permanent? Think about it the process in the context of a pool. The pool is a visibly controlled space, so understanding the volume, concentration, and contact time is quite simple. Knowing those variables is critical in using a chemical disinfectant. Now, let’s apply that logic to an underground lake (aquifer) that we know little about. Shocking the entire aquifer is the only way the shocking process makes any sense. I can promise you aren’t pulling it off with a jug of bleach. This is more than likely the reason homeowners continually follow this shock process every few months, when the water samples come back positive for bacteria. But this is not the only reason this process is flawed. I have listed a few reasons below for your reading pleasure:
- Uncontrolled levels of chlorine can be dangerous to consume
- Oxidation of organics can generate THMs (harmful gas)
- Chlorine is aggressive in nature and can damage well casings and pump fittings
- It’s silly…
The best possible method of controlling organisms is at the point of entry into the home, and there are a few methods, including chlorine injection, to achieve it. To me, the most overlooked solution is UV (ultraviolet light), as it is a safe, controlled, chemical-free method of achieving micro-biologically safe water in your home. UV light adds nothing to the water and it takes nothing away. To sum it up, UV light sterilizes organisms as they pass by and leaves them unable to reproduce. If an organism cannot reproduce, it cannot make you sick, and, ultimately, it dies. Surprisingly, most municipalities use UV light as the primary method of disinfection, and the use of chlorine in these systems is only to hold a residual through lines protecting consumers from decaying and compromised infrastructure. If UV is accepted and used by the city, it should be used in your home! Read up on UV and stop shocking!
Tony Oosterveld Manager Product Support & Customer Service at VIQUA