Well Water: Is it Harmful for drinking? How to purify it?

The majority of people in the US regions usually get drinking water from EPA-regulated wells. It’s a sustainable source of water because they don’t need to pay to get drinking water. Usually, the EPA covers around 85% of these wells. EPA-certified wells ensure pure and healthy well water. But it doesn’t cover around 15% private wells. So, it’s not certain that the drinking water from private wells meets the health standards.

Is it Harmful for Drinking?

Nobody guarantees for the purity and cleaning of well water. It may be contaminated by lots of heavy metals, minerals and other chemicals. Resultantly, the minerals can malfunction the wastewater treatment system. Furthermore, the use of pesticide near the wells can also make the water unhealthy for human beings.

Of course it makes you ill. If it contains micro-organisms in the groundwater and at surface level, it can create long haul healthy problems. The presence of certain chemicals in the well water can cause chronic health issues. These issues grow in our body gradually. You should keep testing the well water constantly to avoid them.

Factors Determine the Safety of Well Water

Well Water

There are various factors, ensure the safety of your well’s water. It includes the underground geological structure, the surface, development of the well and regular treatment system. Let’s have a look on all important factors.

Well Construction: The strong construction ensures the safety of water. Make sure that it was constructed and it’s not a naturally found well. A natural well can contain micro-organisms, harmful for your health.

Location: The location of the well matters a lot for healthy water. If it’s located near the wastewater treatment system, it may contain lots of contamination. A well located near the natural stream or river can contain heavy metals that are easy to clean than the micro-organisms.

Maintenance: The maintenance is a very important factor. Check how regularly it is maintained? Does the management check the water quality regularly?

Water Source: The most important aspect is to check the water source. What kind of aquifer is providing water to this well? If it is a stream coming out of mountains, it must be contaminated with minerals and arsenite type of arsenic.

Depth of Well: The depth of well should be satisfactory. According to the experts, you get more cleaned water at more depth under the ground. A well having more than 800 ft depth will provide you ideally clean water. A less deep well could contain bacteria, minerals and metals.

Human Activities: The livestock, petroleum, manure, pesticides and fertilizer storage near the wells is harmful for human beings. EPA recommends keeping the livestock at least 50 ft away from drinking water sources. Furthermore, the pesticides, fertilizers and manure should be stored 100 ft away.

Harms of Contaminated Well Water

Let me explain a few major contamination of well water and their impact on human health.

Micro-organisms: Micro-organisms like bacteria, viruses and parasites are naturally found in well water. They are found in our environment and even in human and animal waste. If you consume the water containing micro-organisms, you will get gastrointestinal infection and illness. Some people think that a covered well doesn’t contain bacteria or viruses. It’s not true. The underground storage tanks and septic leach fields leak and the wells absorb these microorganisms from these sources.

Heavy Metals: The list of heavy metals includes cadmium, antimony, chromium, lead, arsenic, iron and others. They can affect your liver, kidneys, small intestine and large intestine. You will get cancer, intestinal damages and anemia.

Nitrate/Nitrite: These nitrogenous elements are found in chemical fertilizers and human and animal waste. If you drink nitrate-contaminated water, your blood won’t be able to carry oxygen to all body parts. They can cause serious illness and death in infants within six months.

Radionuclides: These are radioactive waves containing uranium and radium, etc. They seriously affect human health and can cause toxic kidneys and cancer effects.

Organic Chemicals: Some organic chemicals used in paints, pesticides, dyes and solvents, etc contaminate well water. People drinking water from such wells suffer from kidney damage, liver problems. They get a severe damage of nervous, circulatory and reproductive system.

Fluoride: It’s naturally found in aquifers and wells. A small quantity of fluoride keeps our teeth healthy and strong. However, the excess of fluoride causes a continuous pain and tenderness of joints and bones. It also causes fluorosis, teeth discoloration and pitting.

How to Purify Well Water

All wells don’t contain the same natured contaminations. Some may contain heavy metals and other may have chemicals. Some may contain arsenite and others may have micro-organisms. So, you can’t apply a single method to address all contamination. Apply a relevant solution in this context. Here, I am going to list a few authentic methods for purification of well water. Check and follow accordingly.

Water Filtration System

Water filtration system plays a vital role to remove lots of contaminants including minerals, heavy metals, odor and bacteria from water. A water filtration system brings the following benefits:

  • It improves the taste of water and makes it odorless
  • Removes sediment, chlorine and heavy metals
  • Lessens fluoride, limescale, nitrite, and nitrate
  • Removes arsenic
  • Eliminates micro-organisms like bacteria and viruses.

Major Types of Water Filtration System

Water Filtration System

There are various types of water filtration system available for users. You can select the one according to your requirements and budget. Most commonly, household users prefer under sink, countertop and faucet-attached water filtration systems. Using a water filtration system can be a bit costly water purification process, but you get good health for yourself and family. There are various water filters for well water, but check these types before choosing one for you.

Undersink Water Filtration System

It’s considered the best water filtration system and mostly, users prefer it due to an easy installation. This filtration system removes contaminants like minerals, microorganisms and heavy metals from water.

Countertop Water Filtration System

A countertop water filtration system is comparatively cheap, compact and easy to install. It removes the contaminations by 90% and shows effective filtration for years.

Water Softener

A water softener is used to purify well water if it contains a heavy amount of minerals like sodium and potassium ions. The water softeners can replace these harmful minerals with calcium and magnesium ions. Thus, the water is safe to drink. There are four types of water softeners: Salt-based, Salt-free, Dual tank and magnetic water descaler.

Using a water softener can create good impacts on family health. It makes your hair and skin softer and leaves a stain-free surface. It makes the detergents and soaps more effective. Furthermore, it’s an inexpensive method to clean the well water.

Distillation System

The distillation system works when you get micro-organisms and solid minerals in well water. In this process, you don’t need to add a cleaning agent into the water. Only boiling water at high temperature is sufficient. After boiling water, you collect a steam like sand, rock pieces, cloth or charcoal and condense the water in other containers. The use of these elements creates a filter and you get clean and pure water out of micro-organisms and minerals.


  • Boil water for five minutes on high temperature to get rid of bacteria.
  • Use a few drops of chlorine to kill bacteria if you don’t want to boil it.
  • Use some sand/a few pieces of charcoal or rock or a cloth and put it on a cone to create a filter. Now, start filtering boiled water.

Check out this interesting video about well water:


It’s used in big cities to clean water supply on large scales. You can also use it if your well water is contaminated with pathogenic micro-organisms. Mostly ozone, chlorine dioxide and chlorine are used to disinfect these harmful microorganisms. These are called chemical disinfectants. However, using chemical disinfectants can cause distaste and smelly water. Some physical disinfectants like heat, electronic radiation and UV light are also used now to get tasteless and odorless clean water.

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