If you live in a rural area, chances are your water comes from a private well. After all, a private well can be a convenient source of water for drinking, cooking, washing, feeding livestock, and other household and agricultural activities. Plus, you no longer have to pay for the water you use. Life is good.
But considering the potential contamination from various sources, do you think that your well water is safe to drink? We’re talking contaminants like pesticides, fluoride, bacteria, nitrate and nitrite in chemical fertilizers, human sewage, and animal waste, and many others. Think about it for a second.
Also, keep in mind that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate private wells. Instead, the agency works to determine safe tolerance levels for chemicals and other pollutants in the water flowing to your home from public water sources. Without this regulation, there’s no guarantee that the water coming from your private well is safe. Furthermore, you are solely responsible for protecting your well water from contaminants.
Regularly testing your well water for potential contamination is the first step toward maintaining a safe and reliable water source. The test results will allow you to address any problems in your water supply adequately. This way, you can decide on an effective treatment system to block pollutants from entering your drinking water and harming you and your family.
Today we’ll be going into more detail about what steps you can take to purify your well water and make it safe to drink. Let’s continue.
But isn’t a well a natural source of water? Why do I need to purify it?
Regardless of the source, drinking water can expose people to a variety of toxic pollutants and pathogens. Since you cannot see harmful bacteria, parasites, and other microscopic organisms in water with your naked eye, a highly polluted glass of water might appear to be clean and healthy to drink. Likewise, your private well water may look clean and pure, but that doesn’t mean that it is safe to drink.
Many public water systems usually use water treatment methods and monitoring to protect consumers from such contaminants. However, private wells generally do not receive the same services that public wells do. As a result, you are responsible for protecting your drinking water from potential contamination and the possible effects those potential contaminants can impose on you and your family.
Private wells can be polluted naturally and by human activities. Below we’ll list some common contaminants found in wells. Some of these unwanted agents can lead to adverse health issues or even death. Hopefully, then you’ll see why you must purify your private well water.
- Microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, parasites are present in human sewage and animal waste. The water run-off from rainfall or snow-melt can contaminate wells by washing the pathogens into the well system or by seeping underground. Also, the waste from underground storage tanks and effluent from septic can leech into a water source and expose your water well to harmful microorganisms.
- Heavy metals can be found in areas like household plumbing and service lines, petroleum refineries, municipal waste disposal, cement plants, mining operations, electronics manufacturers, and natural mineral deposits. Some of these metals include lead, copper, arsenic, antimony, cadmium, chromium, and many more. Heavy metals can pollute private wells through the movement of groundwater and surface water seepage and run-off.
- Nitrate and nitrite are often present in human sewage, animal waste, and chemical fertilizers. These contaminants can pollute your private well through underground movement, surface water seepage, and run-off. Toxic levels of nitrate and nitrite in your water can cause methemoglobinemia (AKA, “Blue Baby Syndrome”).
- Organic chemicals are used to make many household products and are widely used in agriculture. These chemicals are found in some inks, dyes, paints, solvents, pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, petroleum products, etc. They enter the groundwater and contaminate wells through waste disposal, spills, and surface water run-off. Consuming high amounts of organic chemicals can cause damage to the kidneys, liver, and the nervous, circulatory, and reproductive systems.
- Fluoride is also present in many aquifers and even in private wells. While it can help prevent tooth decay, excessive exposure to fluoride can cause skeletal fluorosis, dental fluorosis, tooth discoloration, and pitting of the teeth.
If you’re still not convinced, the CDC recommends that you test your well water for Coliform bacteria, nitrates, and others every year.
Okay, I need to test my well water. How do I get it done?
The harmful contaminants in well water can lead to serious health issues, including diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cancer, neurological problems, gastrointestinal illness, and issues with reproduction. Testing for those contaminants as well as implementing various safety measures will help ensure that your well water is entirely safe to drink. You can consult with your local health department or any relevant professional for information about how to safeguard your well water from contamination.
The EPA proposes that wells should be at least 50 feet away from septic tanks, livestock yards, silos septic, and leach fields, and at least 100 feet from petroleum tanks, pesticide and fertilizer storage, and liquid-tight manure storage. The agency also suggests a distance of at least 250 feet from manure stacks.
How to test your private well water
The two most common methods for testing your well water for contaminants are:
- A water test kit. (You can order affordable water test kits from any credible online merchant.)
- Sending a water sample from your private well to a local laboratory for testing. (Contact your local or state Health and Human Services Department for more information. They’ll refer you to a certified laboratory in your area.)
Regardless of the method you choose, you can test your water for specific contaminants. The New York State Department of Health issued a list of contaminants to test for, and a schedule for each test. There’s also a Water Quality Indicators (WQI) test that will check and measure the concentration of pathogens and other pollutants in your water.
The presence of specific contaminants in your water does not always cause severe sickness or death, but authorities test for them anyway. Those tests can also help examiners discover other disease-causing bacteria possibly present in the water.
Because private wells are more susceptible to contamination (compared to municipal water), you must test it at least once a year. The best time to test your water is in the late spring or early summer. Make sure to check for things like pH level, nitrates and nitrites, fluoride total coliform bacteria, total dissolved solids, hardness, arsenic, iron and manganese, alkalinity, and others. Testing your water will help you determine if you need a treatment system or if the one you have is performing optimally, and if there are any changes in the quality of your water source.
How do I purify my well water and make it safe to drink?
If your test results come back positive for any particular contaminant, do not worry. There is a host of treatment options that can help eliminate such pollutants and make your water safe to drink. You have to bear in mind, however, that no single treatment method can address every kind of contamination problem.
A whole house water filter is one of the most effective treatment systems that you can use to remove many kinds of contaminants and impurities from your drinking water. A system like this can either use a chemical, a biological process, or a physical barrier to filer your water.
If you decide to use a whole house water filter to purify your well water, then the Springwell Whole House Well Water Filtration System will be your best option. This specific system has an impeccable design, robust functionality, and some of the latest and most innovative technologies around. Essentially, it is the best whole house well water filter system on the market.
The Springwell Whole House Well Water Filtration System uses an efficient 4-stage process and a unique set of water filtration technologies to remove some of the most common and most dangerous contaminants from well water. Plus, it’s economical and environmentally-friendly.
When paired with a salt-based or a salt-free water softener, the combo unit produces top-tier filtration. The softener combo helps to eliminate hardness minerals from your water that would otherwise affect your laundry, skin, and hair, and damage your pipes, plumbing fixtures, and water-using appliances.
Combining the softener system with a UV light creates the powerful ULTRA Well Water Filtration Combo System. This combo system removes iron, manganese, hydrogen sulfide, chlorine and chloramine, haloacetic acids, herbicides, pesticides, sulfur, MTBE, and TTHM, limescale buildup, calcium buildup, and hard water minerals. The UV technology helps the system control microbiological issues in your well water, including E. coli, Cryptosporidium, and Giardia lamblia. It also kills 99.9% of harmful pathogens, viruses, and bacteria to protect your home against contaminated water.
And if that’s not enough, Springwell offers NSF-certified components to optimize their water systems for maximum reliability, efficiency, and durability. They also provide a lifetime warranty on their products, as well as an industry-leading six-month money-back guarantee.
The Wrap Up
Purifying your private well water is the best way to protect your household from possible water contamination. Private wells are more susceptible to water contamination than municipal water, so you must install a powerful whole house water filter to block out pollutants and make your well water safe to drink. The ULTRA Well Water Filtration Combo System is the best water filtration system for well water, so purchasing it would be a smart investment.