Wednesday, March 17, 2010


When we moved, we went from city water to well water. Something neither TK nor I were super excited about, but most of the towns we were looking in, that was the only option. Neither of us had well water growing up, so we've been slowly learning about wells since we moved.

We're about to get a crash course.

I'm sure it's not news to anyone to hear there's been lots of flooding throughout New England this past weekend. Half of my friends' facebook status updates have been about flooded basements. While our sump pump has been running CONSTANTLY, and we spent 24 hours with our backup sump pump kicking in (and ringing the backup alarm nonstop), our basement managed to stay dry. Yay!

Then yesterday afternoon I noticed our tap water was coming in slightly discolored. It got worse the more I ran the water trying to clear it. TK changed the water help there. Parts of our yard are flooded, including the area around our well. While the well is capped, we suspect the well might have flooded. Which means the well might be contaminated. Which means we can't use the water.

TK's taking the day off today. We're going to try to find a hardware store that still has a pump in stock so we can try to pump out the yard near the well. We're going to call the well service company. We're going to get our water tested.

I started researching on google, and I had to stop. It was as bad as relying on Dr. Google when I have a runny nose. I have no idea how bad this is, but I saw on one of the first hits that it can take MONTHS to get the well back to usable condition. I'm trying not to freak out. As I started out saying, we know pretty much nothing about wells, so I'm not even trying to diagnose this one ourselves. Hopefully we'll get okay news about all this...


So, I already miss running water. No shower today, have to brush teeth with bottled water, can't drink tap water (my main beverage of choice), can't do dishes, can't run laundry. Still can flush the toilet, though, so I guess that's the one good thing since we technically still do have running water.

You'd think, for one minute, "Oh, can't use the water! What a great chance to learn some really great water conservation techniques." Well, you might think that for a minute while you were desperately searching for the upside.

Here, so far, are all of the horrifying anti-green results of the unusable water:

  • had to buy gallons of water to use for things like tooth brushing, drinking, washing, and cooking. Me, buying bottled water! Ugh!
  • had to buy disposable diapers since I can't do laundry for the cloth diapers (yes, if this is a long term problem, I'll have to find a laundromat. Since I have to do diaper laundry every other day, this will be a HUGE drag).
  • bought purell to disinfect hands.
  • I suspect we'll be eating out more as it's a pain to cook (not to mention, can't wash dishes with this water). I am making corned beef and cabbage tonight, though. Can't keep this Irish-American gal down! I've got it in the slow cooker with Guinness instead of water :)
  • I'm going to have to go out and buy disposable plates, cups, and silverware. Ick, I hate paper plates. I hate paper cups. I hate plastic forks. But again with the "can't do dishes", we're quickly going to run out of real plates, cups, and dishes.
  • I'm going to have to go back to paper napkins and paper towels, because of the "no laundry" thing.
Hopefully, we'll find out today if we can at least boil water to use it. My problem now is that besides the worry of the water being unsafe, it's also very dirty. I mean, I can boil it to kill any germs, but that doesn't get rid of the dirt so I still can't use it. Can I? I certainly can't drink it! But even if we could use boiled water to wash dishes, that would be a huge help. Hopefully we'll be able to get a professional out today to service the well and give us some information about all this. And hopefully, the news will be better than I fear. I tend to overworry about things. Fingers crossed that this is one of those times.

For now, I'm trying to cut myself a break about how eco-unfriendly I'm having to be now, and focusing on making the best choices available given the situation. Time to test out the recycled unbleached paper products!

Anyone know anything about wells? Anyone ever deal with a contaminated well?


In the "whoa, irony" department, last week's Change the World Wednesday was about using less water, letting the tap only run a trickle. I'd been trying that out this week, until all this happened. It's amazing how much water you can waste just by letting the tap run full speed! So that was a good, easy tip last week to just run it a trickle. Of course now I'm alternating between running the taps full out trying to get the water to clear and keeping them totally turned off...

This week's challenge is:

This week, make use of returnable/reusable containers at the market. If your store takes back bottles (or any other containers), return them. If bulk shopping is available, reuse the bag/container for your next purchase. If you buy veggies and use the store's produce bags, keep the bags and reuse them on your next trip.

I try not to buy drinks that come in returnable containers as they're normally soda and/or single-serving drinks, so I don't often use the store's bottle return. None of our local grocery stores have a bulk section (an annoyance for another post), so I don't get to use any reusable bulk containers.

Veggies and fruit I've written about before. A lot of times, you don't even need a bag at all. I do carry plastic produce bags in my purse to reuse. I also recently got a couple reusable mesh produce bags, which I think is ultimately the way I'll go. Oddly, though, I'm having trouble remembering to bring them with me. I have to get a workable plan in place. I don't know how I can remember my reusable grocery bags and forget the produce bags, but somehow I manage!


Small Footprints said...

Wow! Yours is the second post I've read, in just a couple of days, about flooding and all the problems associated with it. I know nothing about wells but I hope that things aren't as bad as you fear and that you'll have usable, drinkable water soon!

You might think that you're being un-Eco-friendly ... but, in my mind, living a green life is all about the choices we make based on the situation we're handed. You are still making the best possible choices under the circumstances so ... I'd say you're doing great!

Hang in there ...

Small Footprints

LauraC said...

Sorry to hear about your well! I do not know anything about wells at all. But what's nice is you're using these disposable things with PURPOSE and it is temporary.

Now a story to make you feel better. A contractor drilled into the city water lines and possibly contaminated the water with e coli. We were not allowed to use tap water. My boys were 3 months old and had a vomiting virus at the time (Jon had it too).

At one point, I actually called a friend to ask if parenting got harder than this because this was all I could take. Bottled water for formula bottles, re-sterilizing bottles after each use, and little ones vomiting all over my house. It was BAD BAD BAD.

Janna said...

I know nothing about wells, but I'm hoping your's is an easy, cheap and quick fix!!!!

Regarding bags, we put the produce straight into the cart and we use reusable grocery bags, but I have gotten so good about not forgetting then that we recently run out of plastic bags to clean up after our dog, so I will have to forget them next trip and restock up on plastic bags :)

jungletwins said...

Geez! You are getting hit hard. No fun. I really hope you have a quick resolution to this. In the meantime, enjoy that yummy yummy Guinness- hope the Irish dinner brings with it Irish luck.