If you are considering buying a home with a private well in Tampa Bay, it's important to understand the FHA rules regarding wells and well water. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures mortgages on properties across the United States, including many homes in rural areas that utilize private wells for water. As part of the mortgage approval process, the FHA requires testing and treatment of well water to ensure it is safe and sanitary for home occupants.
Overview of FHA Requirements for Wells
There are several key requirements homeowners must meet for FHA approval of a mortgage on a property with a private well:
Water testing - The well water must be tested for contaminants including coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels.
Water treatment - If testing reveals contamination above acceptable levels, a treatment system must be installed to remediate the issues.
Well inspection - The physical well structure must be inspected to ensure it was installed and maintained properly.
Well flow rate - The well must be able to provide an adequate supply of water for normal household use.
The FHA provides guidelines for the required water testing and acceptable contaminant levels. All testing must be performed by a certified lab within the last 90 days.
Water Testing Requirements
At a minimum, well water must be tested for the following:
Total coliform and E. coli - These bacteria indicate potential contamination from sewage or surface water. The FHA requires coliform bacteria to be absent.
Nitrates - Levels above 10 mg/L indicate contamination that can cause health issues. Treatment is required if above 10 mg/L.
Total dissolved solids (TDS) - High TDS indicates mineral salts in the water. Levels above 1000 mg/L require treatment.
pH - Water with a pH less than 6.5 or greater than 8.5 requires treatment.
Lead - Levels above 15 parts per billion require treatment.
Testing may also be recommended for iron, manganese, arsenic, and other contaminants depending on the water source. The FHA provides reference limits for these.
In addition to water testing, the FHA requires a visual inspection of the well to evaluate its physical condition. This inspection checks:
Well location and minimum distances from contaminant sources like septic tanks.
Well construction including casing depth and material.
Well head construction above ground.
Presence of a sanitary well cap.
Presence of backflow prevention devices on plumbing.
Any defects must be remediated prior to closing on an FHA-insured mortgage.
Water Treatment Systems
If water testing reveals contaminant levels above FHA limits, an appropriate treatment system must be installed. Common well water treatment solutions include:
Water softeners - Remove hard minerals like calcium and magnesium. The AquaLux Water Softener uses a salt-free catalytic process to reduce scale and hardness.
Carbon filtration - Filters like the AquaCarbonGuard remove organic contaminants and improves taste and odor.
UV disinfection - AquaGuard UV systems kill bacteria and pathogens for safe drinking water.
Reverse osmosis - AquaRevive RO systems filter out dissolved solids, heavy metals, and other contaminants.
Ozone injection - The HydroClear ozone generator destroys bacteria and neutralizes iron, manganese, and sulfur odors.
Proper sizing and installation of treatment systems is critical to handle the water usage needs of a home.
Well Flow Rate
The FHA requires private wells to deliver water at a minimum flow rate of 5 gallons per minute (gpm). This ensures the well can satisfy the typical peak water demands of a home. An insufficient flow rate may indicate problems with the well that require repair.
Higher flow rates of 10 gpm or more are recommended for larger homes. The flow rate can be tested by running water into a container and timing how long it takes to fill a known volume.
The Floridan Aquifer in Tampa Bay
Most private wells in the Tampa Bay area draw groundwater from the Floridan aquifer system. This vast aquifer underlies all of Florida and parts of several other Southeastern states. It provides high-quality drinking water when properly protected. Contamination risks include:
Saltwater intrusion along the coast
Runoff and infiltration from development
Sinkholes forming pockets of stagnant water
Naturally occurring minerals and metals
Routine testing helps monitor for any emerging issues with the Floridan aquifer in a local area. Homeowners should also be aware of activities in their neighborhood that could impact groundwater quality over time.
Partnering with a Water Treatment Expert
The FHA requirements for wells and well water can seem extensive for homeowners unfamiliar with wells and water quality issues. To simplify the process, consider partnering with a water treatment professional that specializes in serving clients with private wells.
Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions has extensive experience working with Tampa Bay area home buyers and helping them comply with FHA well guidelines. Their certified water specialists can:
Perform a detailed analysis of your well water and identify any issues.
Recommend specific solutions to correct any contamination or quality problems.
Size, install, and maintain treatment systems matched to your household's water needs.
Provide required follow-up testing and documentation for the FHA.
Offer financing options to cover the cost of treatment systems.
By managing the water testing, treatment, and compliance process for you, Aqua-Wise simplifies meeting FHA requirements and ensures your family has access to clean, safe well water. Schedule a free water test to get started on the path to healthy well water.
Health Effects of Hard Water and Contaminants
Hard water and contaminants in well water can negatively impact your home and health in many ways:
Dry itchy skin and hair damage from hard minerals reducing moisture.
Soap scum buildup on fixtures from water hardness.
Staining of sinks and bathtubs from iron in the water.
-Unpleasant odors and tastes making drinking water less desirable.
Health issues in the long term from ingesting heavy metals, bacteria, and other contaminants.
A whole house water treatment solution improves conditions throughout your home, while systems like reverse osmosis produce cleaner, better-tasting drinking water. Contact Aqua-Wise to learn more about options to address your particular water quality issues.
Call to Action
Is your dream home served by a private well? Don't let uncertainty about well water stand in the way of home ownership. Aqua-Wise Water Treatment Solutions has the expertise to cost-effectively treat private well water to meet FHA quality standards. Schedule a free water test today!
Our water specialists will evaluate your water, recommend solutions, and provide required documentation for FHA approval. We also offer financing options to cover treatment systems with no money down and low monthly payments. With affordable payment plans, clean water is within your reach. Call 727-236-7161 now to get started.