Drinking Water Testing for Real Estate Transactions
When you buy or sell a home, your first thought probably isn’t about water. You know, what the source of the water supply is or even what the quality is, but did you know it is a crucial part of any real estate transaction? It is typically required by loan institutions and can be a deciding factor in completing a sale. If you’re a seller, it’s wise to include results in your property listing, as many buyers see this as a value add. While requirements vary from lender to lender, let’s look at some of the common details regarding water quality testing.
Today, we take clean water for granted. But the presence of bacteria and organisms should be a concern when considering safe water usage. It is amazingly easy for seepage, runoff, discharge from various sources, pests, and rodents to infiltrate a water supply, potentially causing harmful levels of bacteria. Unfortunately, contamination is not easily detected by sight, smell, or taste. The only accurate way to know if a water supply has been compromised is to collect samples and perform laboratory testing.
Generally, the EPA requires that public water supplies be regularly screened, but the frequency of testing depends on the size of the population the source serves. Testing is up to the property owner's discretion for private water supplies such as wells, springs, or other sources. As a rule of thumb, private water supplies should be tested:
- At a minimum, once a year
- When a well is returned to service
- When a new well is developed
- If a water system is repaired
- If it is known that floodwaters or surface runoff have infiltrated a well
- If contamination is suspected – usually indicated by signs of illness or another health issue
Regardless of the source supplying your property, and whether you are buying or selling a property or not, it is best practice to have regular testing to ensure optimal health and wellness of all those who use the water supply.