Water Quantity Testing During a Property Transfer

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Avoiding Potential Headaches

We received a phone call yesterday from a Buyer’s Agent who was informed that the well failed during the quantity test and ran out of water. We’ve never experienced this during the countless wells we’ve tested so we were naturally suspect. We were contracted by the Seller’s Agent to assess the situation. The well ran out of water because the output of the well pump outperformed the performance of the well without recovery time being measured.

It’s one thing for a well pump to be able to produce 5 or 6 or 7 gallons per minute. It’s quite another thing to have the well support this output indefinitely (well sustained rate).  What happened in the situation above is that the person completing the test allowed the well to run dry because the recovery of the well was not monitored. The well pump was able to produce 7 gallons per minute but the recovery rate of the well couldn’t match this performance and the well ran dry in a short period of time. If the proper procedure isn’t followed, this type of outcome and headache for all parties involved becomes more common than not.

One of the most popular questions we receive at SafeWell is: “What’s the best way to correctly measure well performance and output (quantity)?” Below, you’ll find the best practice blueprint to ensure your clients are receiving accurate results with reduced liability (and headaches) both during the property transfer and beyond.

There are three key measurements you want your clients to know at the conclusion of a quantity test:

  1. 24-volume availablity of water to the home
  2. Well Sustained Rate (commonly referred to as the “flow rate” in gallons per minute)
  3. Recovery Rate

If you don’t receive these three output measurements during your quantity test results, you’re not providing accurate information to your clients and they cannot make the best informed decision when it come to purchasing a home with a well. In addition, you’re not getting the true value for the cost of the quantity test.

It’s one thing to turn on the water and run it for certain amount of time, at say, 5 gallons per minute. It’s quite another to be able to achieve this rate indefinitely (which is what a well owner will want). In other words, the well will recover 5 gallons per minute as 5 gallons per minute is withdrawn from the well (sustained). This is the reason the recovery rate calculation is so important and necessary–and required by MassDEP for new well installs and used as best practice for existing wells.

The recovery test is almost always overlooked during a property transfer; mainly because special equipment is needed for the testing. MassDEP requires that a well not only needs to meet certain 24 hour guidelines and flow rate levels, but also needs to recover to within 85 percent of the pre-pumped static water level within a 24 hour period. This calulation is almost always missed and can lead to a situation as mentioned above where a well runs out of water.

The amount of water available to the home can be equally as important as the quality of the water. The next time your client is looking to complete water quantity testing, we encourage you to share the information in this post with them. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking here. We’re always happy to advise on the best approach to testing.

I hope your find this information helpful!

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