Groundwater Contaminants and Well Water Quality

Pure water from your well is actually a bit of a myth. It doesn’t exist naturally and even in distilled form is not 100 percent “pure.” All natural water has some level of dissolved gasses and minerals present.  When it comes to water quality, ground water quality is a result of the chemical make up of the geology where the well is located and the amount of time it has spent underground. In general terms, groundwater is much cleaner than surface water. Surface water is subject to contamination by the millions of microorganisms found in nature. Add to this threat, chemical contamination due to run-off, and other man-made chemicals and you'll see it makes sense that groundwater is often a safer source for drinking water.

Groundwater moves very slowly and that long, dark, travel time means that it is has few microorganisms present. It is less likely to be contaminated by organic compounds than surface water. But because it travels slowly, groundwater quality may be affected by naturally occurring chemical compounds it comes in contact with during its journey.

Groundwater Quality

These trace chemicals are generally found in small amounts and are not considered a health issue. They can however, affect the aesthetics of the water. Some of the common trace elements found in well water can include iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, sodium bicarbonate, silica, nitrate and fluoride. In addition, ground water can contain trace levels of naturally occurring chemical elements such as radon and arsenic.

Home water treatment can usually remove or reduce these elements. If your water is supplied through a municipal water system it is monitored and treated for the trace elements before it reaches your home. Homeowners who obtain their water from individual wells are responsible for the quality and quantity of their own water supply. Annual testing is recommended. It is an inexpensive way to assure peace of mind for your family and can alert you to any potential problems in a reasonable timeframe. Currently, around 30 percent of homeowners in the United States have some form of water treatment in place to assure personal or recommended quality standards.

Water Quality Issues

There are three major categories affecting water quality, physical, biological and chemical. Treatment options vary depending upon the cause of the contamination. Beyond testing, homeowners often detect problems due to the physical properties of their water. Usually, these issues revolve around the smell, taste, and water clarity. These issues are caused by trace elements introduced into the ground water and are usually harmless and not a health issue. However, they can indicate possible hazards and in some instances can reduce the efficiency of your well equipment. It’s always best to test if you detect a change in quality or quantity.
The best solution if you have a quality issue is to consult with a qualified well water contractor. These professionals can work with you to test your water supply, interpret the results and install a water treatment system that can alleviate the problem.

There are several water quality systems and options available that can either address your entire water supply (point of entry) or provide a single outlet for treated water (point of use). Treatment options include filtration, reverse osmosis and distillation systems that can be used in combination if necessary.  Consulting a water quality specialist is a smart decision that will provide your family with healthy water and peace of mind.