Olympia area home buyers will find that although many homes are on city water or a privately managed community water system, there are also many homes with wells providing their water. These wells may be individual wells, serving just one home, or they could be shared wells serving two or more homes. So, if you are looking at a home with a well, what do you need to know?
One important thing to know is that you will want to have the well water tested as a condition of buying that home. There is a well addendum which can be included with your offer on the house, and it gives the buyer the opportunity to have the well water tested to make sure it will be safe to drink.
Thurston County has testing kits that can be picked up, with easy to follow instructions about how to collect the water sample and then about returning the sample to the county to be tested. The testing will give you results about the presence of unsafe levels of coliform bacteria or nitrates, and the combined test for both costs $54 currently.
Water samples must be returned within a short window of time, so make sure and plan to take the sample when you can get it turned in for testing within that time period.
The county testing does not test the water for the presence or levels of minerals like iron which might also be of interest to a buyer. A local private company, Dragon Laboratories, can do that testing as well as the testing for coliform and nitrate content - and has a mobile lab to come to the property to get samples.
By the way - if you buy a home with a well, don't forget to periodically have your water retested - it's an inexpensive safeguard for your family's health! And check out the materials available at the county to learn how to protect your well from accidental contamination.