Well, water can be a convenient source of drinking water. After all, nearly 98% of all freshwater on Earth is groundwater.
But, is this water safe for consumption?
Your well can be prone to contamination through a wide range of factors. This is why you need to make sure that your water supply is clean and safe for you to drink. Similarly, it is always handy to know what preventive methods you can take to keep your well water protected.
This is why we have compiled a comprehensive article below. This article includes how you can assess the quality of your well water as well as the commonly known contaminants. Furthermore, we have included the signs that your well water might need disinfecting along with how to do so.
So, let’s jump right into it!
Is My Well Water Safe to Drink?
Private wells have always been a common source of drinking water. Generally, groundwater is known to be clean enough to drink. However, these days with all the chemical spills and human interference, it is best to be safe than sorry. Your well water might look clean, but who knows which microorganisms might be present in it.
Due to various health concerns, you need to get your well water tested. Testing it once is not enough as the quality of well water can be affected by the seasons, environmental factors, surrounding conditions, and much more. These are the things that you need to keep in mind when you are concerned about the safety of your well water.
One of the first things you should consider is the location of this well. If possible, you should talk to your neighbors to see if there are any known contaminants. You can also look into the area itself and see if there is any history of water contamination.
Another thing to keep in mind is the age of the well. How long has it been since it was last serviced? Long years without constant quality testing can result in well water that is brimming with microorganism growth or other impurities.
The build quality is also essential in maintaining well water safety. Poor builds may allow for impurities to seep in. The materials used can be examined to understand the degradation rate of your well. This value can let you determine whether this well water is safe to use.
The surrounding of your well goes hand in hand with the location of the well. It is essential to understand what activities in your general surroundings can affect the well water. For instance, if you live near an industrial area, there is a risk of chemical spills.
Contaminants Found in Well Water
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The contaminants found in well waters can vary depending on the area in which it is located. However, some common pollutants are listed as follows:
- Natural impurities: Calcium, copper, radon, and arsenic
- Farming impurities: Pesticides, herbicides, runoff from animal feeds
- Malfunctioning sewers or septic leaks
- Industrial contamination
- Heavy metal impurities
Why does your Well Water Need Disinfecting?
Well, water gathers from under permeable rocks and inside bedrock cracks. This makes it susceptible to impurities as well as naturally occurring microorganisms. Most of these are safe; however, there is always a risk of pathogens.
If your well water has been exposed to unwanted impurities, you could get an E. coli infection. Similarly, excessive pesticides, heavy metal impurities, or arsenic can result in illness and even death. This is why you need to ensure proper disinfection. You can save yourself the distress faced by diarrhea, food poisoning, and much more.
Moreover, well water is usually associated with hardness. This is due to the high solubility factors of groundwater. It dissolves all kinds of minerals around it, causing high calcium and magnesium values. Hard water is not dangerous for your health but can cause some problems for your skin and hair. Additionally, it can leave limescale deposits on your laundry and your plumbing systems.
Common Well Water Impurities and Their Consequences
Some of the most commonly found contaminants along with their effects are detailed as follows. This table should give you a clearer idea of why your well water needs proper care.
|Arsenic||Toxic to both human beings and animals|
|Nitrates and nitrites||Can cause illness in infants|
|Iron and manganese||Can cause staining and cause a bad taste for drinking water|
|Lead||Can cause developmental disabilities in children|
|Copper||Can cause poisoning|
|Coliform bacteria||Can cause fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea|
|Chlorine, sulfate, and sodium||In excess, it can cause health problems|
When to Know your Well Water Needs Disinfecting?
The following conditions make it imperative to disinfect well water:
- If your well water mixes with flood water
- If the pump has been newly replaced or repaired
- If there has been any changes in its surrounding
- If there has been any indication of coliform bacteria growth
- If it has been a year since your last disinfection
How to Make your Well Water Drinkable?
Now that we have understood why well water needs proper disinfecting, it is time to discuss how we can do so. The following are some of the methods you can utilize to make your well water safe to drink.
You can make your well water drinkable by filtering it properly. These days there are so many options that there is no doubt that you can find one that suits you. The following are a list of these different filters:
Whole House Filtration
Whole-house filtration systems are the systems that filter the water in your main pipes throughout the house. The water from your well comes into these systems with the help of an automatic pump. The system then churns out purified water, which is distributed to the taps in your home. Most of these systems come with the additional option of a professional installation.
A countertop filter refers to the filter that attaches directly to your tap. These filters are useful when you only need one outlet for your filtered water. Another benefit is that these usually require minimal to no plumbing changes. The catch is that they filter a smaller quantity of water. However, they make up for this by being highly portable and convenient.
As the name suggests, Under-the-sink filters are the ones that are installed under the sink. These are attached to your plumbing system and can filter a considerable amount of well water. They are easy to install and will provide efficient filtration to the sink it is attached to.
Not all well waters will need high degrees of filtration. If you are sure that your well water is free of contaminants, then the second issue you can face is hard water. Hard water can leave stains on your kitchenware, plumbing systems as well as your laundry. Hard water is full of minerals, such as calcium or magnesium.
A water softener can help target this and provide you with soft water for your use. Soft water comes with many benefits. It helps soaps and detergents be more effective and also prevents damage to your water appliances. Similarly, it will promote overall better skin and hair.
Water distillation is another method you can use to make your well water drinkable. In this process, the well water will be boiled. The steam collected during this boiling process is then condensed into a different container. Water distillation boasts of removing 99.9% of the impurities from water.
These impurities include heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic. This process can also leave the well water free of bacteria, dissolved solids, nitrates, and so on. Furthermore, it removes most of the known pesticides and herbicides, leaving you with clean water to drink.
If your main concern for your well water is microbial growth instead of impurities, then water disinfection might be the way to go for you. Commonly used disinfectants are chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and ozone. Similarly, heat, UV lights, and electronic radiation can also be used for disinfecting the well water.
How to Keep Your Well Water Safe to Drink?
Now that we know how we can make our well water drinkable, the next step is learning how to keep it that way. If properly maintained, your well water can serve you with clean drinking water for years to come. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your well water safe to drink:
- Keep your well water properly covered to prevent fallen debris or other contamination.
- Perform regular checks for any cracks or corrosions on the walls of your well or the seal itself.
- Make sure that there is no route for rodents or insect infestation.
- Perform yearly water tests to ensure water safety.
- If you have a septic system in your house, make sure it is inspected regularly to prevent any leakage.
It is generally advisable to ensure that you only drink water that has gone through proper filtering. This is especially true when it comes to well water. Your well is highly susceptible to contamination from a wide range of impurities, whether organic or inorganic. This is why you should consider investing in one of the water purifying techniques listed above.
Table of Contents
- Is My Well Water Safe to Drink?
- Contaminants Found in Well Water
- Why does your Well Water Need Disinfecting?
- When to Know your Well Water Needs Disinfecting?
- How to Make your Well Water Drinkable?
- How to Keep Your Well Water Safe to Drink?
- In Conclusion