Private Well Problems and Solutions

As one of the over 13 million homeowners in the United States with a private well that provides water for our household, you are on your own! This can be both liberating but also overwhelming for some individuals. It is your responsibility, and only your responsibility, to ensure the safety and quality of your drinking water. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate private well water the way they do with public drinking water, nor does it offer criteria or standards. It does, however, offer some information about testing your water’s quality. So how can you ensure your water is safe?

You MUST Test Your Water

Well water tastes great – Under the best circumstances, it smells clean, feels crisp, and doesn’t have that chlorinated pool scent or weird fishy smell public water can have. However, even crystal clear, odorless, delicious water could potentially be contaminated. The only way to be sure is to test your water.

In fact, most waterborne disease outbreaks in the USA involve private or semi-private water well systems. Contamination and disease doesn’t have to mean a virus or bacteria; harmful minerals like arsenic or sulfur could seep into the water table and wind up in your well. Bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Shigella are common contaminants, as are norovirus and parasites like Giardia lamblia, Cyclospora, and others. Most commonly, though, you’ll encounter pesticides or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). At any time, as many as a third of wells may have these contaminants – Though usually at levels below what many consider dangerous. These can cause other problems, however, such as damaging your system or fixtures.

Testing for issues like these and more – Such as water hardness, mineral profiles, or other issues – Helps you assess the severity of any problems you may be aware of. This assessment is crucial to addressing any problems that do arise. The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) recommends that homeowners with a private well have their wells checked and tested by certified contractors every year to ensure the water is safe.

Why Should I Test My Private Well?

You might be fine with your water, but your children, pets, elders, or pregnant spouses might be more sensitive to pollutants. Some situations always warrant testing: Flooding on your property, problems with other wells in your area, nearby construction or industrial operations, if you repair or replace anything in your well, or you notice something different about your water – Such as taste, smell, or color.

It is important that you have your water tested – Not just have your well “looked at” by a professional. You should always ensure that tests performed provide information on the levels of arsenic, lead, chromium 6, mercury, and VOCs.

Common Well Problems

  • Hard Water: Water that leaves rough, rocky stains and rings have high levels of dissolved minerals. Installing a water softener or water conditioning system is the solution.
  • Rusty or Metallic Taste: Iron or manganese that dissolves in the water can give your water an unpleasant taste or color, and bacteria can grow in the water that feeds on these. You will need to install filtration according to the parts per million of each contaminant for this problem.
  • Rotten Egg Smell: The presence of sulfur in the water can cause hydrogen sulfide gas to form in your water system. Reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, aeration, and shock chlorination can help eliminate this odor, whether formed as a mineral or a biofilm.

As you can see, even simple problems should be addressed by qualified professionals. Testing is recommended to determine the exact cause of any water quality issue, followed by teaming up with a professional to provide solutions. The professionals at American Pump Services would be happy to answer these or any other questions you have about your private well water system, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.