Our only access to water here is via our well.
For years, this worried me stupid. Being a city girl, I was used to drinking water from a guaranteed supply and certified drinkable by the World Health Organisation!
When we first moved here, there was an old stone well that was defunct and a new concrete well that had been built some time during the previous 10 years. Our water system in the house was connected to the new well which brought water up from 7 metres underground. We showered in this water, washed our clothes in it and flushed the toilet with it. We also started to drink it in small quantities and were greatly relieved when we failed to contract cholera.
Then we read somewhere that drinking water high in calcium could give us kidney stones! We knew our water had a high calcium content because a hard white build-up would gather quickly on the insides of the jug. So we started purchasing bottled water too and would only drink our well water if it had been filtered and boiled. This system continued even after our plumber installed a softening system to remove the calcium...in the absence of proper certification, we continued to worry about our well water's potability.
During all this time, we contemplated getting it tested but, as with a lot of things here, we didn't know where to start and there always seemed to be other priorities.
When we mentioned to our neighbour that we were interested in getting our water tested, he gave us the contact details for a local chemist. He also told us that our home's previous owners had drunk the well water and lived to be 101 and 102 years old! One of these owners used to drink directly out of the 100-200 year old old stone well on the property! But this was before the use of pesticides and fungicides and we really did want to know the truth about our water...
So yesterday we finally got around to visiting the chemist. It was one of the easiest things we've done here, which is often the case with the tasks we've avoided or procrastinated over. He was a lovely older man who explained all of the tests that needed to be done in detail. They included PH, ammonia, nitrates, calcium, hardness, iron, manganese and sodium as well as herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, fungicides and phosphates. On top of this, he would also test bacteria counts for faecolis and streptococcus. He also explained that we could bring samples to him or he could come to the house and take the samples himself. I thought it might be better if he understood our set-up in terms of the well location and the softening equipment so I invited him to visit. He said he'd be there within 3 hours!
Our chemist arrived on time armed with a little blue plastic bottle carrier. He took samples before the softening equipment and at the kitchen tap and left saying that the results would be ready the next day.
We went to his office this morning to get the results where, to our joy, he declared our water to be "bellissimo"!!!
It looks like we've purchased our last bottle of water...