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What You Should Know about Your Water System

May 1, 2019


Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're continuing our discussion on what you should know about your water system. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Jason Barrett, Mississippi State University Assistant Extension Professor. Dr. Barrett, there are some very important factors we should know about our water lines. If I'm thinking about purchasing or renting a new house, what should I ask regarding the way the water lines are set up?

Jason Barrett: I would tell you think about it in two ways. One, whether we're actually, this is a new construction, so we're installing versus buying something that's already been built or constructed. From a private wells standpoint, if we're building new, locate your private well in a location that is safe from runoff contaminants, those types of things. But also make sure you have very accessible cutoffs so you can isolate certain parts of your home, or especially if you have multiple structures on your property so you can isolate those as well.

If you get a home that's already been built and it's on a private well, try to get as much information from the previous owner as you can, as far as where is the well, are there cutoffs, where are those located? You will need those at some point in time.

Now from a community standpoint, if it's new construction, one of the things you're going to have to do is get a meter set from the community system itself. Most of those are going to be set just inside the property line. The community system will set a meter and then from that meter on is the customer's responsibility.

Being a customer, I would tell you have good access to your lines so that you can either work on repair, isolate certain parts of your home or again, if you have multiple structures isolating those structures as well. But if you purchase a home that already has a system installed and it's on a community system, just know where your lines are. Know where cutoffs are. If you have zero cutoffs, you may want to look at installing some so that you can isolate things if needed. Then at the bare minimum know where your meter is located and be able to access that meter to turn it off should you have a leak. The last thing you want to do is wait until you have a bad leak and then can't even find your meter or access it.

Amy Myers: So know how to turn it off and also know how to turn it off if it's a private well?

Jason Barrett: Correct.

Amy Myers: As far as what the water lines are made of, what should we ask about what material it's made of?

Jason Barrett: A lot of that right now is just going to depend on the age of the structure. If you've got really old, decades old, it may be actual old steel pipe or cast iron pipe, something of that nature. But somewhere up there was a PVC era so you may still see some PVC. A lot of new construction are using [PEX 00>>02>>59] line, which is really flexible and really frost preventative measures by using PEX. It's good to know what type of materials you have just in case you do have leaks or issues, how do we replace it, how do we repair it?

Amy Myers: It's not a deal breaker if the current home owner doesn't know the answer to those questions?

Jason Barrett: No, I would say all of them are going to achieve their original design, which is transporting water throughout the house. It's, I'm going to say become an issue nowadays as far as the quality of your water after sitting in those lines.

Amy Myers: If you have any questions, you can always maybe get the water tested or something?

Jason Barrett: Sure, and if you're on a community system, they're going to be testing on a regular basis at least monthly. You can always reach out to your community system or look for your consumer confidence report once a year that gets published around July one.

Amy Myers: That could be accessible if you're considering purchasing or renting a house?

Jason Barrett: Sure, and that's one of those things I would definitely ask if dealing with a realtor or from an individual homeowner. Check the water quality. Those are very important issues.

Amy Myers: If it's on a well and we need to get it inspected to see what kind of condition the well is in, who do we call?

Jason Barrett: Considering private wells are not regulated, the best thing to do is to call a good licensed, reputable well driller. These are the folks that are actually dealing with private wells regularly.

Amy Myers: We can just look on the internet for that, correct?

Jason Barrett: Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality does the certification for well drillers in the state of Mississippi. You could go on MDQ, Mississippi Department of Environmental Qualities website, search for well drillers, water well drillers.

Amy Myers: Contact the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to search for a well driller. Sounds good. Today we've been speaking with Dr. Jason Barrett, Assistant Extension Professor. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Ext Ctr for Government & Comm Devel

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