Having your own private well pump system can provide a whole lot of advantages. It gives you freedom from relying on municipal plants and services to treat the water you drink. It frees you from the cost of monthly water bills, and can provide higher quality drinking water too. It’s a great option to choose if you want to enjoy great water each and every day without any compromises. However, there are a few issues that can arise with water wells, and the biggest nightmare of all for private well owners is coliform bacteria. These kinds of bacteria can cause gastrointestinal infections for your whole household. This is why regular water testing is so important. Regular well pump maintenance and water purifying devices can help too.

If, however, you do encounter coliform bacteria in your private well system, this article will teach you what to do.

Stay Calm

The first step if you identify coliform bacteria in your private well is to try and stay calm. It can be quite a scary experience to learn that your well is infected with bacteria. It is worth noting straight away that many forms of this bacteria are actually harmless to humans. Others will create only a few symptoms. There are only a few kinds that can pose a serious health risk. Obviously, you should stop drinking the water immediately, but it’s important to stay calm. Dealing with bacteria infections in your well isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Contact The Pros

Professional well maintenance and repair teams can handle coliform bacteria infections with ease. It’s always best to turn to the pros whenever you encounter any kind of issue with your well or water pump, especially something as serious as a bacterial infection. The professionals will usually have a range of possible solutions including repairing cracks and holes in the well system, replacing your old and possibly damaged well cap with a new one, reinforcing the well casing, or even doing a ‘shock chlorination treatment’.

Shock Chlorination

Shock chlorination is usually seen as a ‘last resort’ for ridding a private well system of coliform bacteria, but it’s very effective and can get the results you desire very quickly. This process involves adding a lot of sodium hypochlorite into the water well in order to kill off bacteria and cleanse the water. The chlorine will remain in the water for a little while afterwards, so you should carry on not drinking from the well for another day or two and perform another test to see whether or not the treatment worked before using the well again.


Installing a filter might be one of the best preventative measures to lower your chances of ever having to worry about coliform bacteria at all. Filters work to clean and purify the water from your well, removing unwanted elements, making the water taste and smell better, and lowering the chance of bacterial contamination. If the water from your well happens to be hard, you might also consider the installation of a softener.