The safety of the home’s water supply is a common concern when the water source is a private well. Most counties in our area used to require a test for bacterial contamination as part of the sale of homes dependent on a water well. This is no longer the case, but it is still customary for sellers to provide a “safe water test,” indicating that the well is free from certain forms of bacteria.
But bacteria are not necessarily the most common or the most serious hazard in well water. Well water may contain minerals, heavy metals, and radioactive substances that pose serious health risks and that may damage plumbing systems or appliances. Bruce Bevirt with Environmental Investigations is a good local source of information on these issues (303-642-3565).
While most buyers do not consider water quality as an issue if the home is connected to a public water supply, two issues may be worth mentioning. First, if you are concerned about chemicals such as fluoride or chlorine that are often added to water, detailed information on water content and water additives can be obtained from the city, county or private company that supplies the water. Second, since lead soldering materials were commonly used in many older homes, testing for lead in the water is something many home buyers should consider, especially when purchasing an older home.
The EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water is a good general source of information on these issues. Results of water quality tests of public water systems in Colorado can be searched by system or county at this link on the EPA site.