October 23

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Is Well Water Safe to Drink?

By TODD FRANZEN

October 23, 2022


Last Updated on October 23, 2022 by TODD FRANZEN

AI image looking out of a well with the text Is Well Water Safe to Drink?
Is Well Water Safe to Drink?

Do you know what’s great about well water? It’s free! And you know what’s not so great about well water? It might contain hazardous chemicals and bacteria that can make you very sick. So, is well water safe to drink? Here’s what you need to know.

In the United States, most households without public drinking water systems have private drinking water sources. The water in those wells can therefore be used to drink only in certain situations and can be used without any restrictions or routine testing.

As well owners you have the responsibility to test your well water and make sure it is safe to drink. The water in private aquifers mainly comes through groundwater collected through deep aquifers.

What’s in Well Water?

The safety of well water depends on a number of factors, including the depth of the well, the surrounding ground, and the level of maintenance the well is given.

Generally speaking, shallow wells are more likely to be contaminated than deep wells because they’re closer to the ground surface, where many contaminants originate. However, deep wells can also become contaminated if they’re not properly constructed or maintained.

A water well is a private drinking water source for households without public water systems. The water in a well can be used to drink and should be tested regularly to make sure it is safe.

A well is a shaft or pit sunk into the ground to get at the water that lies under the surface of the land. The water in a well comes from rain or melted snow that has seeped down through cracks and crevices in the ground until it reaches an aquifer, a layer of soil, gravel, or rock that contains water.

Factors that affect well water quality

It is important to know what influences your water supply, its condition, and how the wells were constructed. Since well water can also vary seasonally, you should periodically inspect the well water and keep these water quality reports in your records for comparison among the seasons and to monitor fluctuations in water quality.

Some of the most common contaminants found in well water include bacteria, viruses, and parasites; minerals such as lead, arsenic, and mercury; and man-made chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers.

These contaminants can enter the water through cracks in the bedrock or from improperly sealed pipes and fittings. Once in the water, they can cause a variety of health problems, ranging from mild gastrointestinal upsets to serious neurological disorders.

Should I have my private well water tested?

Unless it has been several decades since you tested your well water, it is essential that you get it tested ASAP. This tells you the exact water content. Even after the initial tests, you should regularly check the water of your private well to see which contaminants your environment is carrying and how they are contaminating it.

Who is responsible for testing?

If you are considering testing privately, please call the local medical center. Sometimes your local health service may test privately held wells for free. In some areas, local health authorities may test the nitrates, bacteria, pHs, and volatile organics.

You could also request private testing by a state-accredited laboratory to obtain a complete health assessment. EPA lists state-certified laboratory listings that can give you hints about the location of a laboratory.

But at the end of the day, You are responsible for your water quality!

When should I test?

You should get your water test as soon as you move into your new house and your well is plugged into it. It is recommended that after a preliminary evaluation your test be thoroughly tested for nitrate, coliform, and acid bacteria every 1 year. In addition to routine testing, there’s another time to test yourself.

What should I test for?

Many testing labs offer well water testing packages to enable free testing of the above contaminants. Other substances that you can try to find are the following.

Natural vs unnatural contaminants

A lot of well water contamination can occur naturally on Earth and rocks around a good aqueduct. Other water pollutants are unnatural which means they are manmade.

Contaminants that are both natural and unnatural include:

Do not be fooled: naturally occurring chemicals are not necessarily dangerous. In certain places, there’s dangerously high contamination. For example, arsenic can cause cancer and has an elevated concentration in California’s groundwater due to its naturally occurring arsenic sources.

The health impacts of drinking water from private wells are often very different from well water quality. Below are the main medical effects of the drinking water in wells as well as their contamination.

Internal organ damage – Lead poisoning

The contamination from well water causes significant internal organ damage. Contaminants that accumulate over time, like lead, will most often damage organs when used from water wells over several years. The kidneys, liver, and intestinal lining can also be severely affected by lead.

Gastrointestinal Illness – Microorganisms Like Bacteria

Gastroesophageal disorders are typically due to drinking water that is infested with harmful bacteria. It usually takes a couple of hours for symptomatic signs to develop after consuming bacteria-contaminated water. Gastrointestinal disorders usually last up to a day or longer.

Reproductive problems – pesticides, organic solvents, heavy metals

Reproductive issues and even infertility occur from various common water contaminants such as pesticides, organoleptic solvents, and heavy metals. Exposure to these pollutants is associated with decreased sperm count.

Neurological Disorders – Heavy Metals, PFOS, PFOA, Pesticides

Brain disorders can be attributed to a person drinking water with high levels of harmful chemicals like lead, phosphorous, or sulfur. These contaminants may interfere with brain development in several ways.

Skeletal Fluorosis – Fluoride

Skeletal fluorosis can affect bone and cause weakened bones, which happens through the accumulation of fluorides in the human body. Fluoride is found within most water sources and is unlikely to occur from consuming skeletal fluoride in water. However, fluoride is not good for people with fluorosis.

Cancer – Arsenic, and Radionuclides

Exposure to heavy metals in water has been linked to cancer. Cancer.gov says arsenic may cause skin cancer and bladder cancer. Arsenic is a heavy metal that’s found in water due to its presence in the Earth’s crust.

Radionuclides are radioactive materials that can enter drinking water through contact with certain types of rocks and minerals. Radionuclides can also come from human activities such as mining, nuclear power production, and oil and gas drilling.

Signs Your Water Is Making You Sick

Are you experiencing gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea?

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues, it is best to avoid drinking well water. The water may be contaminated and could make your symptoms worse. If you are unsure whether or not your well water is safe to drink, it is best to have it tested by a professional.

Have you been diagnosed with a reproductive problem such as decreased sperm count?

Sperm count has been in steady decline for the last few decades. A recent study found that the average sperm count in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand has dropped by more than 50%. This is a cause for concern because low sperm counts have been linked to infertility. There are many factors that can contribute to decreased sperm count, including environmental toxins, stress, smoking, and obesity. But one often-overlooked factor is exposure to well water.

Have you been diagnosed with a neurological disorder such as lead poisoning?

If you have been diagnosed with a neurological disorder, such as lead poisoning, it is important that you take measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from further exposure. One way to do this is by drinking only safe water, such as filtered or bottled water.

Some people may choose to drink well water instead of filtered or bottled water, but is this safe? Private wells are not regulated by the government, so there is no guarantee that they are free of contaminants like Lead.

Have you been diagnosed with cancer?

Well water should not be consumed if you have cancer. The chemicals in well water can make cancer worse or cause it to spread. If you have cancer, drink only bottled water or water from a public source.

With that said, if you have tested your well water and taken the proper action to filter it, then well water is likely safe for you to drink.

Some people with cancer are concerned about their exposure to chemicals and other toxins. While it’s important to limit your exposure to toxins, it’s also important that you don’t become so paranoid that you’re afraid to leave your house.

Have you been diagnosed with skeletal fluorosis?

If you have been diagnosed with skeletal fluorosis, it is likely that you have been drinking from a private water source such as a well. Well water can be a great option for those looking for an alternative to city water, but it is important to understand the pros and cons of well water before making the switch.

Are you are experiencing skin problems such as rashes or lesions?

When your skin is breaking out or you’re experiencing other skin problems, it’s time to take a look at your water source. Well water can be a great solution for people looking for an affordable and private water source, but it’s important to make sure that the water is safe to drink. Here are some pros and cons of well water to help you make the best decision for your needs:

Is your hair or nails brittle and break more easily than usual?

It’s not just your imagination: unfiltered well water can make your hair and nails brittle and more prone to breaking. While the jury is still out on whether or not well water is safe to drink, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to avoid drinking it untreated.

Do you feel constantly tired and have no energy?

Unfiltered well water can be the cause of many health problems. While it may be a cheaper option, it is not as safe as filtered water.

Each person will experience the side effects of water contamination differently. If it affects your thyroid, it could be the reason why you feel tired and have no energy

Do you have frequent headaches or migraines?

If you’re experiencing frequent headaches or migraines, it could be due to drinking unfiltered well water. Well water often contains high levels of nitrates, which can cause these health problems.

Does your water taste, smell, or look different than usual?

If you’ve ever noticed that your well water tastes, smells, or looks different than usual, it’s important to take a closer look at the water. While there are many reasons why your water may have changed, one possibility is that the water has become contaminated.

Contamination can come from a variety of sources, including naturally-occurring elements and pollutants from human activity. If you suspect that your well water has been contaminated, it’s best to have it tested to determine the extent of the problem and find any necessary solutions.

If you’re looking to find solutions to any of the above problems, a great place to start is whether or not you could be being poisoned by your well water or water supply.

Have Your Water Tested Regularly

So, is well water safe to drink? The answer isn’t always clear-cut, but if you have a private well, it’s important to have your water regularly tested for both bacteria and man-made contaminants. Your local health department can provide information on how to have your water tested.

I know it seems like a lot of trouble to go through just for some water, but trust me – the reward will make all your troubles worthwhile.

There are a variety of water testing kits available online, and it’s important to select one that is high quality in order to get accurate results. My more in-depth article about water testing provides information on the different types of kits available, as well as how to use them correctly.

Well Water Testing

The accuracy of a water test is not 100%. However, it contains numerous indicators and can be relatively accurate. Water quality indicators or WQI tests will detect and measure contaminants in water.

The presence of this water quality indicator doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bad water supply. Also, it can also show other bacteria and sewage contamination that cause diseases. The sewage can be either animal or human-made.

Other considerations for well water testing

If you have young children or elderly adults living at your house, you need to test your well water. Our aging population may be more sensitive in the event of contamination by other groups. After testing, list the important contaminants in the well water system that you must take into account immediately:

  • Water quality problems – as a result of water changing color, smell, or taste.
  • Well water parts rework or replacement – an impact on your well water system will most likely cause an improvement in the quality of well water.

Well water is a precious and vital resource for your family

Well water characteristics change continually, so you can have water test results as a family member. Although not required by governmental bodies it is important to protect yourself and your children.

The EPA says you should test your well twice annually for E. coli and bacteria. It is also important for homeowners to test their water regularly for the presence of radon and arsenic, as well as iron, manganese, and nitrogen levels, to ensure water protection.

Tell me the reason for disinfection

Is well water safe to drink? It depends on your situation. If you have a private well, it’s important to have your water regularly tested for both bacteria and man-made contaminants. You can buy water testing kits online or through your local health department.

Make sure you select a high-quality kit to get accurate results. Well water is always changing, so it’s important to test your well at least once a year. If you have young children or elderly adults living at your house, it’s especially important to test your well water.

The EPA recommends testing for E. coli and bacteria twice a year, as well as radon, arsenic, iron, manganese, and nitrogen levels.

Remember this, groundwater is not completely clean. It has settled in small pores within sediments and in cracks within rock beds beneath. The soil has contaminated minerals.

This is why Water filters are Important

Here are a couple of reasons why water filters are important:

  • Filters out dangerous contaminants and makes well water safe to drink
  • Reduces the risk of waterborne illnesses
  • Prevents contaminated water from entering your home
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • A cost-effective way to ensure safe drinking water

There are many different types of water filters available on the market, and it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. My in-depth guide to water filters will help you choose the best filter for your needs.

If you’re not sure whether or not your well water is safe to drink, the best thing to do is to have it tested by a professional. If you have noticed that your well water is contaminated, there are a number of different treatments available to get the job done. I can help guide in choosing one which will be best suited for what type and degree on contamination issue at hand!

To wrap it all up:

Well water isn’t always safe to drink – even if it looks clean and tastes good. That’s why it’s important to have your water regularly tested for both bacteria and man-made contaminants.

If you have a private well, your local health department can provide information on how to have your water tested and interpreted.

Most importantly, if you have any concerns about your well water, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for help. I’m always happy to answer any questions you may have about your well water and help you find the best solution for your needs.

***Just a reminder, myexcellentwaterfilter.com is an affiliate site. We may or may not make a commission on the products within the discussions on this site. The information here is solely to help inform you and provide access! It doesn’t cost you any more and helps support this site. Please leave any comments or questions you have below!

TODD FRANZEN

About the author

2 time Hodgkin's Lymphoma Survivor, Snowboarder, Mountain Biker, Step Father and Husband.

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