What to Do With Your Well After a Natural Disaster near Auburn, WA

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Your family may benefit from owning a personal well. After all, wells offer a fresh supply of water close to your home. However, after a natural disaster it’s important to take the correct precautions before using your well. It’s possible that in the aftermath, harmful chemicals may have poisoned the water.

Natural disasters don’t happen often. In fact, you may not have to use emergency well information every day, but it’s important to have a plan of action. In case of an earthquake, volcanic eruption, or flood you should know how to keep your family safe.

First and foremost, stay informed so that when these incidents happen, you’ll know what to do. Otherwise, you risk severe damage to your well and water supply.

Here’s what to do after a natural disaster to keep both your family and well water safe:

Check for Damages

The first step after a natural disaster is to check for damages. For example, fast water passing around the outside of the well can carry large debris that may crush or become stuck in well structures.

A damaged well exterior may allow dirt to contaminate your water or cause the entire well to collapse. Avoid putting pressure on the walls of the well without reinforcing the sides. Remember that even if you can’t see any visible damages, well water may be contaminated. Don’t use the well until you have the water tested.

To avoid these damages, before a disaster hits, consider fortifying the edges of your well and covering any cracks that may allow water to seep into the sides. Also, don’t overlook the top of your well. Capping it can block sediment during a flood.

If your well is more than 10 years old, consider refurbishing the exterior. Also, wells built less than 50 ft. deep may also pose a risk.< /p>

Don’t Turn On the Pump

Dirt and silt may destroy the wiring in electrical pumps. Thus, you will need to wait until the system has dried completely to examine it. By the same token, any contact with the wet electrical device may cause electric shock. To avoid this, have the wiring system checked by a professional.

Any component submersed in water risks failure, so you may need to clean gears and valves of silt. Remember, any dirt left in the system will cause the pump to burn out. Assume that electric functions are unsafe to use until a professional has assessed and fixed the damages.

Test the Water

Underground storage tanks can release contaminants into the environment, polluting soil and ground water. Depending on ground flow, these contaminants may reach your well and infect the water. If in doubt, always get your water checked before you or your family drink the water.

You may need a professional to test your water several times before it is safe to use. Just wait until the lab has notified you that your water is clear of bacteria.

Don’t wash or do any of the following until you have a professional test your water:

  • Drinking
  • Making baby formula
  • Washing dishes
  • Showering/bathing
  • Making ice
  • Brushing teeth

Drinking polluted water can cause skin irritations or internal damage to organs. For this reason, you should use bottled water until your water passes inspection.

Perform an Emergency Disinfection

Work with the pump professional to perform an emergency disinfection. Here are a few step-by-step instructions on how to disinfect your well in case of an emergency:

  1. Use a hose to clear the spigot of sediment. Continue to run water through your system until you cannot see any dirt.
  2. Pour a gallon of bleach into the well. If you have a sanitary seal, you can pour the bleach into a removable air vent or plug. Or if it’s a well that’s been dug, lift the entire cover and pour the bleach into the well. Use a funnel to pour the bleach into the casing.
  3. Run hose water through the casing until you smell the chlorine.
  4. Turn on faucets in your house until you smell the chlorine inside. Do not use water while you disinfect.
  5. Run well water through the spigot until the chlorine smell is gone.

An emergency disinfection is temporary. For instance, septic tanks or chemical spills may pollute surrounding water areas. This means, any damages to the well exterior may continue to allow contaminated water into your well. It may take a few months to restore your water’s purity. Don’t use water to drink until it’s taken care of by a professional.

You can check with the state county health department for long-term water conditions. Likewise, information about your well water may also help the state determine water quality safety.

Keep your family safe in a natural disaster. Take precautions now to strengthen your well against the next flood or earthquake. You can keep the exterior strong to safeguard from unexpected events. And always keep bottled water available for your family until professionals can restore fresh water to your well.

Now that you know how to keep your water well clear in a natural disaster, check out our other blogs for more well tips.

5 Ways to Revamp Your Yard Around Puget Sound, WA

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Your yard can make a huge impact on the way people see your home-and how much you use your yard. A bare yard will not entice you to sit outside with a cup of coffee or have neighbors over for a cookout. Likewise, if you’re looking to sell your home, you’ll need to upgrade your curb appeal to draw in buyers.

No matter your reason for the revamp, there are a few easy ways to make your yard a beautiful haven and a pleasant living space. From planting herbs to building a pergola, there is a project that you can do to improve the look and function of your yard.

Top Five Things to Improve Your Yard

Make it livable. The top thing you can do for your yard is to create a comfortable living space. Many people are putting in pergolas and patios in order to create an outdoor living room. Pergolas are preferred over awnings because not only do they let in more light and air in, they can incorporate plant life to soften their looks. A pergola covered with flowering jasmine or wisteria is the ultimate in comfort and romance.

Most people put in a patio under their pergola, and paving brick is better than a concrete slab for this purpose. Concrete makes people think of driveways and parking lots, not a comfy place to kick back. You can even grow moss or a ground cover such as chamomile between the pavers.

As far as outdoor furniture goes, you are no longer limited to plastic and rattan chairs. New polymer fabrics are colorfast and mildew resistant, so you can sit on a colorful and dry padded chair year-round. You can make a built-in bench with pavers or pallets. The options are truly limitless.

Let the light shine. Incorporating lighting into your yard’s face lift is easy and cost-effective. Solar powered lighting can easily be installed along pathways, and light strings or paper lanterns are a lovely addition to a patio or gazebo. You can install outdoor lighting, sometimes called “Malibu lighting,” to light up your trees and home. Not only does this make your home more attractive at night, but it also deters burglars.

You can also change the lighting you already have. Is your porch light outdated? Y ou can update your existing lanterns with newer styles that work on a timer or motion detector. No more forgetting to turn off the porch light!

Grow your own food. Have you ever had a homegrown tomato? Well, that flavor may explain why adding a garden is one of the top trends in landscaping. Adding a garden can be as simple as planting a pot of fragrant herbs or lettuce among the petunias. Or it can be as complicated as creating multiple raised beds with a dozen or more varieties of vegetables and a fruit tree or two.

Many varieties of vegetables require no more work than grass, with the added benefit that you get to eat what you grow! And your family can rest assured that there are no dangerous pesticides or waxes coating your food.

Relax next to a babbling brook. Water features are a perfect way to make your yard attractive and relaxing. The benefits of having a fountain or pond in your back yard are endless. The sounds of running water will make your yard welcoming and relaxing. A fountain or waterfall will also attract local wildlife and add birdsong to your yard’s soundtrack. You can even combine different kinds of water features-picture a waterfall that ends in your hot tub, allowing for an extra soothing dip after work.

And unlike some upgrades, water features vary enough you can find one to fit your budget and yard. For smaller yards, you can fit a small fountain into the corner of the yard or install a globe bubbler next to your deck or patio. If you have a little more leeway, you can create a koi pond or a small stream. And no matter your budget, water features require little maintenance and add to the value of your home.

Roast marshmallows on your patio. Fewer things are better than fire. It’s relaxing, romantic, and you can make s’mores. What more could you want? Well, it can also add value to your home!

Fire pits and fireplaces come in a variety of options. You can get a portable fire pit that you can move wherever you want it. Y ou can build a permanent brick-and-mortar fireplace. Many of these options can double as an

outdoor barbecue. If you love pizza, you can even add a wood-fired pizza oven. There are many ways to add a primal flair to your yard.

As you can see, there are many ways to make your yard more beautiful and functional. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your home before putting it on the market or you want to enjoy your yard for many years, there is something for you. You can have the yard of your dreams.

How Much Water Should I Really Be Drinking? — King County, WA

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To maintain your health, you need to drink a sufficient amount of water each day. Y ou don’t want to get dehydrated, since dehydration can lead to short and long-term health problems. If you’ve been tired, experienced headaches, or felt excessively hungry, you should try drinking more water.

Here we share tips on how much water you should drink, why, and what happens when you don’t.

How much water should I drink?

You may have heard the easy-to-remember saying, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.” This isn’t the most accurate advice, but it’s easy to remember, and it’s nearly right.

Actually, doctors recommend 3 liters (13 cups) per day for men and 2.2 liters (9 cups) per day for women. The amount of water you need is based on body weight, so the larger you are, the more water you’ll need. 8 cups is actually a little under the recommended daily amount, but it’s more than most people drink every day, so it’s a good preliminary goal.

When should I drink more water?

You may need more water than normal under the following circumstances:

You live in a hot climate.

Your body makes sweat to cool your skin down when it is hot or humid outside. That sweat takes fluid away from your body, which means you need to drink to replenish it. Y ou can also lose moisture in a hot room during the winter, so you should drink plenty of water no matter what the weather is like outside.

Also, if you’re travelling at a high altitude (higher than 8,200 feet), you may experience more rapid breathing and increased urination, which deplete your fluids as well.

You are sick.

Your body goes through more fluids when you’re sick, which is why doctors recommend drinking more fluids to help beat a cold. You should drink more water when you have a fever, diarrhea, or nausea to replenish your fluids.

Your doctor may recommend increasing your fluid intake if you have certain chronic conditions like bladder infections, urinary tract infections, or kidney stones.

However, for other chronic conditions, your doctor may recommend limiting your fluid intake. This is especially true for heart failure and some kinds of liver, kidney, and adrenal diseases. These diseases tend to affect your body’s ability to expel fluids, so it’s best not to overload on water.

You are pregnant or breast feeding.

When you’re eating and drinking for two, you need to drink more fluids to stay properly hydrated. Doctors recommend women drink 2.3 liters (or 10 cups) each day when they’re pregnant and 3.1 liters (13 cups) when they breast feed. Just remember to drink one extra cup per day when you’re pregnant and 3 extra cups when you’re breastfeeding.

You are an avid athlete.

People who regularly exercise tend to sweat more, using more fluids every time they work out. To compensate for the lost water, drink an extra 400-600 milliliters (1.5-2.5 cups) for each hour you exercise. If you run a marathon, you’ll need to drink even more fluids. For very vigorous exercise, you may need to use a sports drink that contains sodium (sweat also gets rid of sodium in the body).

What does water do for my body?

Your body is 60% water by weight. That means water contributes to every major system in your body from your muscles to your brain.

Water helps your body function properly. It flushes out toxins, wastes, and other contaminants.

It also regulates your body temperature, carries nutrients to your cells, reduces constipation, and prevents kidney stones from forming.

What happens when I don’t drink enough water?

When you don’t drink enough water, you get dehydrated. Dehydration can zap your energy, making you feel tired and listless. If you let dehydration go too long, you can feel weak, dizzy, faint, and confused, and you can get more frequent headaches.

How do I know if I’m drinking enough water?

The quickest and simplest way to check if you’re drinking enough water is to look at your urine. If it’s a clear or pale yellow, you are fully hydrated. If it’s a dark yellow, you need to drink more water.

You can also tell if you drink enough water by your bowel movements. People who are hydrated tend to have softer bowel movements, so if you’re consistently constipated, try drinking more water.

Can I drink other fluids to stay hydrated?

The best, cheapest, and most efficient hydrator is water. Y ou can drink tap water, bottled water, sparkling water, any water you like. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, invest in a water filter for a cheap solution to hydration.

You can also drink other fluids to stay hydrated, including fruit juice, coffee, soda, iced tea, milk and even alcoholic beverages. However, these other liquids also have extra calories and sugar. The best no-calorie option is water. You should drink water for the majority of your hydration.

You can also get water from the foods you eat, most notably fruits and vegetables.

What should I do now?

Get up right now and fill up a glass of water to stay hydrated! Your body will thank you.

Gross! Why Does Your Well Water Taste So Disgusting in King County, WA?

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You may have just installed a new well, or you may still be using your old one. It doesn’t matter. The water from your well can suddenly start to have a foul smell and taste at any time. You could go crazy trying to mask the taste and smell that it creates all around your house. But why mask disgusting well water when you can fix it?

What Is Causing That Bad Taste?

Chemical or biological contaminants are probably the reason your well water no longer tastes fresh and healthy. Have a look at this list to identify which contaminant culprit might be ruining your water:

  • Hydrogen sulfide gas: If your water tastes or smells like rotten eggs, then you have hydrogen sulfide gas in your pipes. It likely seeped in from the soil surrounding your well.
  • Chlorine: Cities often use chlorine to treat their water. They are supposed to filter it out, but if your water tastes or smells like a swimming pool, then chlorine is contaminating your water.
  • Iron, lead, mercury, or other metals: Your well water will have a distinctly metallic taste if this is the containment culprit. You should have it tested immediately for lead or mercury content because these metals are dangerous to your health! If iron has contaminated your water, you’ll know immediately, because the water will be rusty brown. And while it is disgusting, it’s not dangerous.
  • Sediment: When your water has a musty, earthy, or moldy smell and taste, and comes out looking cloudy, then you have sediment of some kind in your well water.
  • PVC pipe glue: When you install new pipes attaching your well to your house, the glue needs to gas off, or breathe a bit before use. If it doesn’t have time to adequately gas off, it could temporarily contaminate your water.
  • Coliforms/bacteria: If your water tastes bad and makes you feel sick afterwards, it may be full of bacteria. Stop drinking it immediately and get your well water tested.

How Can You Fix It?

Different causes come with different solutions. For example, you’ll need to use carbon filtration to take care of chlorine, iron, and hydrogen sulfide gas. However, you’ll use a sediment filter to eliminate the cloudy look and moldy taste of a sediment
contamination. Sometimes replacing the pipes is all you need to do to take care of the problem.

The bad news comes when you are dealing with something more serious like coliforms; you may have to dig an entirely new well. Ask the specialist in your area about your best course of action or contact Valley Pump today. We can answer any questions you might have about this and other inquiries about the general maintenance of your well.

Understanding EPA Well Regulations in Pierce County, WA

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When you decide to install a private well for your property, it is important to know what you can do to make it safer and cleaner for use. The EPA only regulates public and commercial wells, not private ones. So it is up to you to make sure that your well is up to the standards that it needs to be.

Sources of Contamination

Before you have a well installed, you need to understand what potential sources of contamination could be surrounding your well. If your leaching field, or the area where minerals seep into the soil, is near certain contaminants, you are putting your well in danger. Most well users live in more secluded rural areas, but there are still risk factors.

According to the EPA, sources of contamination include:

  • Septic tanks
  • Livestock
  • Petroleum tanks
  • Manure stacks

Additionally, fertilizers and pesticides contain harmful nitrates which can seep through the soil and into your well. To avoid these contaminants you should steer clear of using them and find better, more organic material to use instead.

Water Tests

It is recommended by the EPA that you have the water in your well tested at least once a year. This basic test will look for bacteria, metals, radon, detergents, and many other harmful substances that could have worked its way into your water.

While it is not necessary to do an extensive water test more than once a year, you should consider additional testing under the following circumstances:

  • Your water has a chance in taste or color.
  • Your neighbors have reported contamination in their own well.
  • You or a member of your household is pregnant or nursing.
  • You or a member of your household falls ill from drinking your water.

Flooded Wells

Flooded wells present a problem to any private well owner. When a well floods it is exposed to the runoff from surface water. Surface water is often not pure and contains many different contaminants.

If your well floods you should avoid drinking from it until it can be purified and tested for any remaining pathogens. To prevent flooding your well should be in a location where any runoff will go away from the well instead of towards it.

Although the EPA won’t strictly regulate your private well, you should still do all you can to take care of it. For water testing, water treatment, and help in maximizing your water volume, call us today to schedule a service.

The Importance of Testing Your Drinking Water — Auburn, WA

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Getting your water supply from your own well can give you a sense of independence from more urban lifestyles. While having a water well can be a fulfilling experience, it is crucial that you check to make sure that your water supply is always healthy and clean.

Ways Water Becomes Contaminated

It does not take much for a water well to become contaminated. Your well could easily be exposed to contaminants if it is near livestock, manure piles, septic tanks, or petroleum tanks. Additionally, excessive use of fertilizers or pesticides in the leaching field could put high levels of nitrates in your soil and directly into your water supply.

Flooding can also cause contaminants to occur in your water supply if your well is located in the path of a runoff. The runoff picks up waste and nitrates from the surface and carries it down to where your well is located. This contaminated water frequently contains E. coli, which can cause diarrhea, hepatitis, and dysentery, although the symptoms may not immediately surface.

How Water Is Tested

Well water is tested using a WQI (water quality indicator) test. This test will tell you the levels of contaminants, nitrates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other harmful substances in your water.

There are home kits for testing your water supply. However, the samples should be sent to a certified lab to receive the most reliable results. If you want to cut out the middle man, you can directly call a professional, licensed company to test your water supply for you. If you receive poor results, the company can then help you do what you need to fix your well.

When Water Needs to Be Tested

Water needs to be tested at least on an annual basis. This annual test will look for traces of coliform bacteria, nitrates, and dissolved solids, as well as pH levels. The Center for Disease Control recommends also testing your water when there are any disturbances to your well. This can include flooding, waste disposal, and land disruptions. You should also consider testing your water if someone in your household has fallen ill recently, the water has a strange taste or color, or if you have had a part of your well replaced or repaired.

To ensure that your water supply is safe, it is vital that you test it on a regular basis. Whether you need your private or commercial water well tested, call us today for certified and professional assistance. Contact us today!

Top 5 Reasons for Well Pump Failure — Pierce County, WA

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You rely on your well pump to get the water you need for your family. So, when it’s not working as you would like, it’s a serious inconvenience to you and your loved ones.

But, what’s the problem with your well pump? Let’s look at some of the most common reasons for well pump failure and how these issues can be resolved.

1. Age. Did you know that well pumps have a lifespan of about 8 to 12 years? The lifespan can be shortened or lengthened depending on the quality of your water, the frequency of pump use, and the quality of the installation. If your well pump is nearing its expiration date, it may be time to consider a new one.

2. Electrical failure. If there is an electrical surge or short in your well pump, or if it was hit by a lightning strike (which is more common than you think), the pump motor can become damaged. You may not notice this failure at first, since sometimes it keeps working for a week or two before failing completely.

3. Corrosion. Are the chemicals in your water eating away at metal well casings? Water well contractors should select the appropriate liner to resist corrosion, but occasionally problems with corrosion still occur. Similarly, bacteria could also form a gellike slime called biofilm, which traps other chemicals and minerals and slows water flow.

4. Over-pumping. If you’re using water at a faster rate than your well can produce, then the pump can stop working completely. Over-pumping depletes the water source and increases corrosion and other problems. It could even plug the area where water flows into the well.

5. Poor well design and construction. If the well wasn’t properly constructed in the first place, there will be problems with the well pump. After all, there are a lot of things a well contractor needs to be aware of, such as:

  • Right choice between perforated well liner and well screen
  • Proper slot size of well screen
  • Best placement of well screen and liner
  • Ideal location of pump

If there is an issue with any of these aspects, the well pump may cease to provide you with the clear, cool water your family relies on.

If your well pump is working below par, it’s time to turn to a professional for assistance. Valley Pump, Inc. can examine your well pump to determine the cause of failure and can repair or replace your pump as needed. Call us for an appointment today.

Tips for Diagnosing Bladder Tank Problems — Puget Sound, WA

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Valley pump bladder-tanksIf you own a private well and use a bladder tank to maintain water pressure to the taps in your home, you know how important its correct functioning can be to your entire well system. Here are some tips and tricks to diagnosing bladder tank problems that will help you get your water flowing correctly once again.

Bladder tanks typically come precharged with air from the factory, but that does not mean they do not require a little routine maintenance from time to time. Changes in water pressure can effect the amount of air in the tank as well. If you begin to notice a dropoff in water pressure at the tap, measure the amount of air in your bladder tank, and be ready to add some if it has fallen below the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Depending on the issue you are having with your water pressure, it may also be that the tank has become waterlogged. A quick look can tell you if your bladder tank has either filled completely with water or even just has too much inside to function correctly. In serious cases of waterlogging, simple maintenance may not be the answer, and complete replacement may be necessary.

If you have questions regarding bladder tank problems, or are looking to have one professionally installed,contact the experts at Valley Pump. Serving the Greater Puget Sound area since 1938 has given us the experience to help you keep your well running efficiently!