is well water safe to drink

In the United States, millions of people rely on well water as their primary source of water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, and more. And while many wells are safe to drink from, there is still a risk of contamination due to a variety of potential contaminants that can be present in well water.

It’s important for those who get their water from wells to understand the risks associated with it so they can take steps to ensure their health and safety. Toward that goal, here’s everything you need to know about where well water comes from, potential contaminants, treatment options available for making sure it’s safe to drink, and how you can tell if your well is providing safe drinking water.

Where Does Well Water Come from?

Well water comes from underground, often in areas where the soil is permeable and has a higher concentration of water-bearing rock or sand. Wells are usually created by digging into the earth and then lined with PVC pipe or other materials to prevent contaminants from seeping in. This water can come directly from an aquifer or be fed through pipes that use pumps to bring it up to the surface.

Is Well Water Safe to Drink?

Although many people mistakenly assume that well water is always safe, this is not necessarily true. Well water can contain a variety of potential contaminants such as:

  • bacteria and viruses
  • parasites
  • heavy metals like lead and arsenic
  • nitrates/nitrites
  • petroleum products
  • agricultural runoff

These contaminants can make their way into your groundwater from natural sources, nearby farms and industrial facilities, and even leaky septic systems. The presence of these contaminants can make well water unsafe to drink, or at least require treatment before it can be safely consumed.

Consequences of Using Contaminated Water

Drinking contaminated water can have serious consequences for your health. Bacterial and viral contaminants can cause gastrointestinal illness which can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Heavy metals like lead can cause a range of neurological issues including headaches, confusion, and even seizures. In extreme cases drinking contaminated well water can even be fatal. Rather than risk your health, it’s important to stay on top of your well’s water quality and ensure your H2O is safe to use.

Well Water Treatment and Filtration

Fortunately, there are a variety of options available for treating contaminated well water and making sure that it’s safe to drink. Depending on the type of contaminants present in your water supply, you may need to install a filtration system or other treatment device. A few popular and effective solutions include:

  • Activated Carbon Filters: These filters are designed to remove chlorine, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and certain chemicals like pesticides.
  • Reverse Osmosis Systems: Reverse osmosis systems use a special membrane to filter out particles as small as 0.0001 microns in size — including contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and lead.
  • Ultraviolet Light Disinfection: UV light systems are designed to kill bacteria and viruses, making your well water safe to drink.

It’s important to have your well water tested regularly so that you can determine what kind of treatment is necessary in order to make sure that the drinking water is safe for consumption.

How to Know If Your Well Water Is Safe to Drink

If you are relying on well water for your drinking and cooking needs, it’s important to make sure that it is safe to drink. For instance, if you notice a change in the smell, taste, or color of your well water, this could indicate a problem and should always be investigated immediately. However, you shouldn’t wait to notice signs of contamination to schedule well water testing. Many contaminants are indiscernible to human senses, so it’s safer to be proactive and test your water even when it seems normal.

Some well owners prefer to use at-home well water testing kits. These kits can provide detailed information about the quality of your water, but it’s important to understand their limitations. At-home testing kits are not always accurate and only detect a few specific contaminants.

The most reliable way to determine whether or not your water is truly safe is to have your well water tested by professionals. Not only can water safety professionals provide more detailed results on the makeup of your H2O, but they can also provide expert recommendations on how to address any contamination that may be present.

What to Do If Your Well Is Contaminated

If your well is found to have any significant level of contamination, it’s important to take immediate action. The longer you wait, the greater the chance of you or your family being exposed to dangerous substances.

Depending on the type of contaminant present in your water supply, you may need to install a filtration system or other treatment device. In some cases, you may even need to find an alternative water source entirely. If you’re not sure how to proceed, consider consulting with water safety professionals who can offer advice on your specific situation.

Protect Your Well Water with The Science of Water

At The Science of Water, we assess and install water filtration systems to meet your unique needs — including for homes that rely on well water. Using filtration technology backed by NASA and the EPA, our advanced water systems purify your water supply to the highest standard. Whatever you’re looking for in a water filtration system, we can help you enjoy tap water in your home that’s clear of contaminants and safe to drink.

To promote our mission of safe water for all, The Science of Water also offers free water quality testing and consultations. When you need answers about the safety of your well’s water supply, our technicians can assess your situation for waterborne threats and recommend the perfect filtration system to suit your needs and budget.

Don’t settle for questionable tap water that may be hiding invisible contaminants that put your health at risk. Get your water tested today to protect your household with pure, clean water that can be relied on. For more information about The Science of Water or to book your free water test, just get in touch with our team today!