Posts Tagged ‘water’

Well Water Testing in Alberta: Why, Where and How

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Well Water Testing in Alberta: Why, Where and How | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamTesting Well Water Before Buying an Acreage

If you are thinking of buying an acreage in Parkland County near Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Edmonton, or elsewhere in Alberta, you probably know that you’ll be responsible for your own water supply and sewage system. When you write an offer to purchase an acreage home, one of your Buyer’s Conditions will likely be a Water Condition, which will require the seller to prove that the acreage’s water is potable and free of bacteria. Your mortgage lender will also want to see this proof. How does the seller in the deal go about meeting this condition?

Luckily, for people in our area, DynaLifeDX (the medical lab located in the Queen St. Centre in Spruce Grove), will test the water for real estate purposes, and your REALTOR® can arrange for the testing. DynaLife supplies the container in which the specimen is collected, and processes it for a fee of $60. Please visit DynaLife’s Well Water Testing webpage for the details.

Living on an Acreage with a Well

If you are new to acreage living in our area, take a look at the Parkland County webpage on Water Systems to learn about how water can be accessed by acreage owners.  As you’ll see, a well on your property is just one possibility.

My blog article of April 2011 entitled “Well Water Testing” notes how critical it is to maintain the health of the well on your acreage property. Today’s article updates and expands the information in that article.

The Provincial Government’s Role: Getting well water tested for real estate and mortgage purposes comes at a cost, is limited in scope and must be done by a private agency, as noted above, but testing of water for human consumption once you live on the property can be done for free by the provincial government and includes more in-depth analyses. It is currently recommended that bacteriological analyses be performed up to 4 times per year, and a chemical analysis every 2 to 5 years. For more details about this, please read Alberta Health Services helpful pamphlet “Frequently Asked Questions About Well Water Testing”.  This pamphlet also lists the circumstances when testing will not be done by the province.

Testing for bacteria is done at the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton (Walter Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre, 8440-112 St, Edmonton AB T6G 2J2 – water testing done in the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory), and chemical analyses are done at the Centre for Toxicology at the University of Calgary (3030 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary AB T2N 4W4 – water testing done in the Environmental Waters Laboratory). ProvLab’s Guide to Services is a large publication detailing the many public health services they offer, with water sampling being one of them.

You don’t have to travel to either of ProvLab’s locations for this service. Spruce Grove’s Environmental Public Health Office is located in the Stan Woloshyn Building at 205 Diamond Avenue. Here, you can pick up special containers in which to collect your samples and drop them off. Hours of operation are weekdays 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. BUT, note that drop-in service is not available so be sure to call them first at 780-342-1380.

Other information about water quality

Health Canada: What’s in Your Well? A Guide to Well Water Treatment and Maintenance  (an excellent and concise article about well health)

Western Direct Insurance: Check Your Water Quality

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development: New online tool for water well owners

Environmental Public Health Field Manual for Private, Public and Communal Drinking Water Systems in Alberta (how to sample, how to interpret the results, how to design, construct, manage and maintain wells, dugouts and cisterns, water treatment, etc.)

Health Canada:  Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development: Water Quality Testing

Looking to buy an acreage? Let me help! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

Well Water Testing

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Well Water Testing |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you live on an acreage in Parkland County near Stony Plain or Spruce Grove, you may get your drinking water from a well on your property, and you know how critical maintaining the health of that well can be.  But did you know that you can (and should) get your well water tested regularly for free by the provincial government through Alberta Health Services?  It is recommended that bacteriological analyses be performed up to 4 times per year, and a chemical analysis once per year.

Testing for bacteria is done at the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, and chemical analyses are done at the Centre for Toxicology at the University of Calgary.  But you don’t have to travel to either of those locations for this service.  Spruce Grove is home to an Environmental Public Health Office located at 205 Diamond Avenue where you can pick up special containers in which to collect your samples and to drop them off.  Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday mornings.  Call them at 780-342-1380.

The following is an excerpt from the brochure published by Alberta Health Services (no longer available online) entitled “Evaluating Private Drinking Water Supplies and Sampling Instructions”.

A full evaluation of a private water supply involves sampling for both bacteriological and chemical analysis.

Bacteriological and chemical analysis and the evaluation of results against established standards are essential for determining the initial and ongoing safety of drinking water.  Other factors such as appearance, odor and field knowledge also assist in determining the presence of potential contamination or existing pollution.

A bacteriological analysis should be performed quarterly, or when contamination of the water supply is suspected.   Bacteriological analysis includes the presence of total coliforms and E. coli.

A chemical analysis should be performed on all new, redeveloped or unregistered wells and re-sampled annually.  Chemical analysis includes seventeen parameters as outlined in the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.  It is recommended that parents with newborn babies or young children submit drinking water samples for both analyses.

Note that this free service is available only for drinking water for human consumption from a raw water supply.   Alberta Health Services includes the following cautions in their brochure:

“Well water samples are NOT accepted for mortgage purposes, livestock consumption, Giardia analysis, fish disease or algae analysis, or to check the effectiveness of water treatment equipment.”

“Chemical analysis WILL NOT be performed on the following sources:

  • Municipal (licensed) water supplies
  • Water for mortgage approval
  • Bottled water
  • Water from private contractors (including water well drillers)
  • Water collected outside of the Province of Alberta
  • Water from other Government agencies”

You can, of course, hire private companies to test your water for the purposes which Alberta Health Services exclude from their free testing service.  DynaLifeDX Diagnostic Lab Services is one such company performing bacteriological analyses.

In addition to the above information about well water testing, it should be noted that:

  • If you have a shallow well that is close to a surface water body, such as a dugout, river, etc., it may require treatment to ensure its safety.
  • If you store water in a cistern, it should be pumped clean and disinfected with a bleach solution at least once a year to control bacteria and algae.  If a water hauler is used to fill the cistern, ensure the hauler is approved by Alberta Health Services.  Water should be tested for bacteriological quality twice per year.
  • Water from a dugout should not be used for drinking unless filtered and disinfected.  Treated water should be tested for bacteriological quality every three months, and for chemical quality once per year.

I always welcome your comments or questions!  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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