Everyone wants clean, quality drinking water. But if your home water comes from a well, it may have naturally occurring contaminants and other water quality issues. Although some water quality issues pose little to no known health risk, many of the most common water quality problems in New Hampshire well water do pose a health risk. Here you’ll find details about some likely water quality problems and their associated health risks.
Arsenic is a naturally-occurring contaminant that is often found in New Hampshire well water. Bedrock wells in the state have about a one in five chance of containing at least a small amount of arsenic and studies have shown that repeatedly drinking water with arsenic during a person’s lifetime can lead to a number of different cancers and other chronic ailments, such as cardiovascular or neurological disorders.
Radon is another common, naturally-occurring contaminant in New Hampshire well water. Many homeowners in New England are aware of the risks radon pose in their home, but the risks of radon in water are often overlooked. Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, naturally occurring radioactive gas found in rocks and soil around the world. It is found in almost all well water in New Hampshire and is released in the home while the water is running, like during showers and washing dishes. Radon can accumulate in the home and can cause an increased risk of disease, particularly lung cancer.
Iron and Manganese
Iron and manganese are two minerals also commonly found in water drawn from private wells. Iron and manganese stain laundry, clogs valves and other plumbing parts, and leave an oily or “crusty” sheen on the surface of your water. Up until recently, these minerals were considered more of a nuisance than a health risk, but new research shows that manganese poses a health risk to formula-fed infants and high exposure to the mineral may lead to cognitive problems.
Corrosive water is a condition caused by low water pH. When water’s pH level is low, it causes metals to dissolve from the metallic plumbing it flows through, especially when the water is hotter. Much of the water in New Hampshire, including both surface water and groundwater, is corrosive, so testing your home water pH level is recommended, even if you don’t see blue-green stains. Corrosive water is not considered harmful itself and there are many foods we eat, such as vinegar and orange juice, that are more corrosive than “corrosive water.” However, the metal that dissolves within it is. High doses of copper over time can cause liver and kidney damage. Corrosive water can also dissolve lead from pipe fittings and seals. This condition is hard to detect because lead is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Lead can be harmful to your health, especially in children.
You should consider lead contamination a possibility if your home was built before 1980.
Water is an essential element of life, so what we use to drink, cook and bath should be of the highest quality. Although some of New Hampshire’s water contains naturally-occurring contaminants, water treatment systems are relatively easy to install and many are relatively affordable. Skillings & Sons offers a range of water quality testing packages you can use to determine the cause of your water quality issues and our experienced staff can help you interpret those results so that you can choose the treatment option best for your home.