I'm purchasing a home in NH and just received my comprehensive water test from the inspector. Here are the marks I'm most alarmed at.

Hardness 264 (want it under 75)
Manganese: .51 (want it under .05)
Coliforms: Present (want it gone)
Radon: 6306 (would love < 2000)

I'm investigating different solutions to reduce or eliminate the three figures above but am running into some dead ends. I would love to DIY these issues, but there are so many different options and solutions that I am unsure which is best or most cost effective.

Does anyone have any advice or experience on ways to reduce these measurements?

Here are the other measurements in case anyone else sees another value that could be a problem that I'm simply not understanding.

Comprehensive Water Test Results

  • 1
    IMHO - Best way, since you're "buying a house" - walk away, buy a different one rather than buying one with a seriously problematic well, and then needing to fix it. This is the point to NOT buy the problems associated with the water supply. Once you've bought it, you're stuck with it and stuck trying to sell it when you're ready to move on. – Ecnerwal Jun 9 '14 at 15:05
  • That's the thing is I don't think it's a problematic well, it was all updated as of 2009. I just think the current owners don't care about filtration and mitigation... As a boy who's been on city water all his life, I'm trying to catch up to see what can be done once I move in. I can also ask them to fix it if the cost is reasonable. – JMD Jun 9 '14 at 15:07
  • 1
    It's problematic - doesn't matter when it was updated. A good well does not need treatment; a moderately problematic well needs treatment for things that won't harm you if treatment fails; a problematic well needs treatment for things that will harm you. This well has multiple issues that will harm you. While you can spend a pile of money on treatment and maintenance of treatment, it's a whole lot less fuss to start with a good or merely moderately problematic well. – Ecnerwal Jun 9 '14 at 15:19
  • 4
    Coliforms = Ground Water or Sewage Contamination. Bad casing or upstream aquifer contamination. Chlorination system may be the only cure. Otherwise walk away, especially if you have or will have children. It's low priced for a reason. Radon in the water = radon in the ground so basement mitigation will need to be addressed as well. – Fiasco Labs Jun 9 '14 at 16:38
  • 1
    You have evidently confused radon and coliform in the comment above. Bleach and UV do nothing for radon. If you only maintain a UV system every two years, you'll be drinking coliform (lamp might be two years, maintenance to keep the system clean enough for the lamp to do its job is much more frequent.) I operate under the assumption that the current owners already shocked the well and the coliform persist, since it's a typical "preparation to sell" step. – Ecnerwal Jun 10 '14 at 15:18

There's a good reason it's "an insane buy" but since you seem to be committed regardless (these things are why you pay an inspector and put conditions in the contract allowing you to walk away if inspection turns up issues...) There's no guarantee that a new well with solve any (much less all) of the issues, unless it ends up in a different water supply (not overly likely with only 4 acres to poke holes in.)

A persistent coliform problem requires chlorination or UV treatment. Chlorination and contact time (a big tank) will also deal with the manganese. The aeration that's typically used for Radon mitigation might also deal with the manganese, but you'll still need to kill the coliform if it's persistent, which you have to assume it is unless proven otherwise. A water softener will deal with the hardness; you may want a reverse osmosis system for drinking water (softened water has higher sodium from the softening process)

Radon is the most expensive and dangerous to deal with problem. You are probably best served to make the seller buy a commercial system, and then you need to make sure the system is properly maintained. Rather than repeat myself, I'll just link to the previous question about DIY radon water treatment and my answer to that. How can I build my own water aeration system for radon mitigation?

If you are going to buy the house regardless, get at least $10,000 knocked off for mitigating the well water problems.

  • Thanks, very good advice both here and in the comments on the question. – JMD Jun 9 '14 at 16:14
  • I ended up getting 3k from the seller to mitigate these problems. The manganese ended up being an issue because they simply were not filtering or salting their water. I had a UV light installed for 1k, and the radon at 6k isn't an issue since the air radon is 1.1 (bringing air radon to 1.7 total.) – JMD Aug 1 '14 at 15:06

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