Looking at buying a house that is on Sepctic and a private Well. Got the well inspection back, and failed for Total Coliform (Ecoli and Nitrate Level are fine). The septic is on the other side of the home, and has a ~20 foot elevation difference, so that isn't the major concern in my mind...How concerned would this failed inspection make you? Their plan is to shock chlorinate it and retest after a period of time.

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    Assume the worst case that the contamination keeps coming back. Is there another water source that can be run to the house, and at what expense? I've never dealt with a well, but if I had one, I would want to know what my contingency plans were if it stopped working.
    – JPhi1618
    Aug 23, 2019 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


The home I have also failed , we bleached the well heavily followed by a heavy flush, the new numbers came back ok but I also added a UV & filter system, the filter is a simple string filter that I change every 6 months. The UV lamp module I have changed 3 times. The UV lamps are kind of spendy so if you can check on replacement lamps not just the price. In the last 5 years we have not had a positive test and have not had to bleach the well again. The UV system was suggested by my well guy (he is a friend) and I trust his advice is the reason I installed the UV system.

  • That helps a lot, I am a worrier...so I am thinking UV filter system regardless. 2 questions....1. do you drink the water? 2. Do you remember what the system cost? Aug 23, 2019 at 19:50
  • Yes we do drink the water , and have 10 horses, I mention horses because they need good water also and go through at least 10 gallons a day each. I put the system in it was high 600 range. I already had 120v outlet out there if not it would have cost more. The big price is the lamps they cost almost 100$ online and from the plumbing store are over 120$ each. We have our water tested every year. the county runs the test for $10 and that includes the 2 bottles for the samples.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 23, 2019 at 20:06
  • Gotcha - that makes sense. Thanks for the info! Do you remember what your original TC number was? I read online some people had 80+ shortly after drilling their well Aug 23, 2019 at 20:17
  • I do not but was thinking it was 180 or 280 my well guy actually did the bleaching I think he used 5 gallons let it sit overnight then flushed for 3-4 hours all the tests since then have been well below the threshold to do anything (so far). We test every year because it is cheap and at another location our neighbor almost died. My well guy said every 3 years is usually enough if the 1st year comes back good.
    – Ed Beal
    Aug 23, 2019 at 20:34
  • Thank you! I really appreciate the information Aug 23, 2019 at 20:38

The failed test would bother me a lot. I live in a rural part of the country and we’ve installed a lot of septic and well systems. None fail.

There’s a reason for the failed test. If the septic system is about to fail, it could be diverting sewer water towards the well. (Water flows in the direction of least resistance.)

Every septic system has to have a designated backup area. Is that area closer or further from the well?

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