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  1. If you own a home supplied with well water, you are in a surprisingly large company. According to the EPA, approximately 15% of Americans get their water from a private source. But with it comes responsibility. You don’t have a city service regulating your water. Taking short cuts or not knowing what you are doing could lead to bad-tasting water, or even severe illness. You can take several steps to help make sure you and your family keep drinking clean refreshing water. Research Call a local water expert or check the EPA website or a company like Water Systems Council to find out about common water contamination in your neighborhood. Wells can be a source of a variety of contaminants, some are nature-borne, and others are attributed to humans. One of the most common infiltrators is bacteria. Most of these microscopic organisms are harmless to humans, but some, such as E coli could cause serious illness. You will also want to test for water hardness, concentration of minerals, and other contaminants such as pesticides and nitrites, which in high doses, can be dangerous when consumed by infants. Know State Regulations State regulations on private wells vary. Check with your local water expert or local health department for your state’s policies or guidelines on water testing. In some states, you may need to obtain a permit for your private well. Other states require a home seller to pay for a water test and show the results to potential buyers. Your state may also require an annual testing of your well water. IF that is the case, make sure you get a complete explanation on what the results mean. Keep Test Results Keep all of your test records and any other problems or inconsistencies in your water. Check for bad taste, odd color, visible contaminants or foul smell. After a while, you will probably find patterns in your well water, making them easier to eliminate. And showing personal and professional records to a potential buyer will give you some added leverage in the negotiation. Owning your own well can be wonderfully satisfying to a home owner. If properly cleaned, well water tastes better and because you don’t have a monthly water bill, is economical. But you must follow cleaning and state guidelines. Doing so will greatly increase your odds of maintaining a well that will meet all the needs of you and your family.