Monday, August 14, 2006

My Fucking Stars and Garters

So, we're on well water. I had assumed my husband had been testing it, if not the recommended once a year, then at least periodically, but he had not. With his dawning realization that pregnancy results in an actual baby (which seems to generally happen around 7-8 months for most men), he decided to at last test the well.

It came back positive for both e. coli and coliform bacteria.

There was much freaking out.

The tests came back on Thursday afternoon and the soonest we could get the guys to come and shock the well was this morning. We can't shock the well ourselves because of the way the well was installed.

The well man took one look at the well and said "Well, there's your problem right there, your well isn't sealed." Yes, in fact, we have basically been drinking from a hole in ground for the last 3 years. The well is drilled with a drill that has a much larger circumference than the pipe that is used for the pipe that brings the water into the house. So, after they put in the pipe they are to grout it or cement it in so that the surface water doesn't just go directly into the drinking water- a significant amount of purification apparently happening with all that trickling through clay and rocks and whatnot. Instead, every time we've had a heavy rain our water was polluted with whatever happened to be around. I am so beyond horrified.

We don't generally use any chemicals on our lawn or garden for a variety of reasons- some environmental, some not wanting to figure out which chemicals we should use, and some being that we just don't care enough about crab grass and dandelions. But, the man who lived here before us was definitely not an organic guy. The well is also right next to the dog play area (it's quite nice sized). The dog poop gets cleaned up regularly but still... Our neighbors, not so organic. We're on a 1 acre lot and the well is in the middle of it so, we may have escaped the worst of contamination but who knows what I have been exposed to during my pregnancy really. The only real plus is that no one has gotten sick from our water (that we know of) and my husband keeps freshwater fish and they haven't been showing any particular problems that might indicate Really Bad Things.

Shocking the well will only be effective until our next big storm but will buy me a little time to do some laundry and such. However, our water isn't safe to drink. I can't wash any baby items since there is a cold rinse at the end of the cycle and babies chew on everything. I can't wash anything that will be used in contact with food like dishcloths, etc. All of our dishes need to be rewashed and sterilized. I can't cook with our water. When we brush our teeth, we need to use bottled water. Our water problems have just been magnified since now, we don't just need to worry about killing the bacteria but we also have to worry about chemicals and other non-biological pollutants.

We're planning on connecting to the city water if it's at all financially feasible (which it looks like it probably is) but that will take about 5 weeks (assuming the town guy gave us an accurate time estimate). The baby comes home in just over 6 weeks. This is pretty accurate since I'm having a scheduled c-section. If there is not digging happening in our yard by the week before the baby is scheduled, we're going to go ahead and shock and seal the well again. I refuse to bring my baby home to place where I won't be able to give the baby a bath, wash my hands, or wash the baby's clothing.

My husband is calling our realtor tomorrow. The well tested positive for coliform before we moved in (so, someone was supposed to tell us to re-test regularly but no one ever did). So, it was shocked but we're pretty sure they didn't wait the amount of time you need to wait before re-testing and giving the all clear. And, there's no way you can look at the well head and not see the big hole around it so it seems like there should have been some disclosure somewhere. But, Real Estate law is far from anything I know about and I have a feeling that this issue will be murky since I don't think we included "inspect well head" in our contract. We aren't particularly litigious but, if there is some way of getting help for paying for clean water or whatever, we'll take it.

Ugh! I'm so glad I went to all that effort to try to eat organic while pregnant...

3 comments:

Anne said...

oh man...thank goodness you got this all figured out before somethinhg really terrible happened! how frightening!

Mrs. Belle said...

My oh my! I am sure that everything is fine, and trust me the baby will be getting into all kinds of stuff before you know it. They are built pretty tough, not to mention that YOU are a fabulous filtration system for the baby and you get to keep all the bad stuff in yourself. So, things will be just fine!

Sarah said...

I second what Rbelle says. if your first concern is for the baby in utero, talk to your OB, but remember, the placenta is an amazingly powerful filter, and it does its job very well. Keep breathing - it'll be ok.