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Is Well Water Safe to Drink?

by Dr. Jonathan Doyle - Updated April 21, 2021
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) reveals that, although most households of the U.S. population depend on a municipal water system for water, about 15% of them still drink water from a private well. EPA is responsible for monitoring and regulating municipal water supplies that is normally disinfected with chlorine at a local water treatment facility. On the other hand, the property owners are responsible for the monitoring, testing, and treating their private well and the water it provides.

Well Water vs. City Water

When a home relies on well water for its household water supply, it means they get their drinking, bathing, cleaning water or any other water requirement from the private well on their property. Wells are built by drilling into the ground and accessing an underground aquifer. That water is then pumped into the house. If you are still undecided on adopting well water as the main water source for you and your family, read on to learn about the pros and cons of well water.

Pros:

You can stop paying the water bill.

Using municipal city water means you have to pay for the treatment and testing fees monthly. According to the statistics from an EPA report, the average American family uses about 300 gallons of water per day. The average monthly water bill is about $70.39, which means the water bill can go as high as $844 in a year. That’s some serious expenses. Opting for a private well will help you save this amount of money every year.

Better water quality.

Well water tastes typically fresh, crisp, or even slightly sweeter. Since the water is coming from the aquifer underground and not the run-off or surface water, it tends to be cleaner and fresher.

Cons:

You need electricity to get water from the well.

You need to pump well water to get it out of the ground. You may run out of water if the electricity goes out or your pump stops working for any reason. Relying on well water means you must have an alternative source of electricity (generator, solar), or be prepared to go without water if the unexpected happens.

Well water is probably contaminated.

Since the government doesn’t regulate well water, it might contain harmful microorganisms and chemicals. Sometimes, well water might be contaminated with man-made products such as gasoline, oil, road salts, and chemicals, in addition to the microorganisms, heavy metals, lead, copper, household waste, fluoride, and other contaminants already present.

You are responsible for getting your private wells checked.

You need to check the water regularly to ensure it meets the drinkable water standard. A private well is personal property – that absolves the government of any responsibility to maintain and repair it. Doing these on your own might cost you a lot.

How to Ensure the Safety of Your Well Water

Prevent groundwater pollution.

Ensure that you safely store, handle, and use chemicals and fuels. Keep them indoors or covered to prevent rainwater from becoming contaminated and washing chemicals into a storm drain.

Test your well water periodically.

It’s recommended to test and check your well water at least once a year for the presence of contaminants, including coliform, nitrates, bacteria, and others. Doing this is the only way to ensure you are not drinking contaminated water, which is harmful to your health.

How to Purify Well Water for Drinking

The most effective and cost-effective way to purify your well water is to buy a water purifier. There are various well water filtration systems on the market. You can choose the right one based on your personal requirement. We have discussed a few of them below:

Whole house water filter for well water

This system takes the water that enters your home directly from the source and treats it to remove various harmful contaminants. The whole house water filter can trap dust, sand, large particles, and many other impurities in water. It is a reliable defense line for your household water supply. Here is a premium whole house water filter you should consider:

Water softeners for well water

A water softener works by treating hard water to eliminate the minerals responsible for the hardness. The process is called ion exchange. Mineral ions that cause hardness to water and subsequent damages to your water pipes and appliances are trapped by resin within the system and exchanged for sodium and potassium ions. You may consider this household water softener:

Reverse osmosis water purifier

Reverse osmosis is a better way of providing clean and pure drinking water for households. The reverse osmosis water filtration systems rely on a semi-permeable membrane to filter out impurities from drinking water. It is arguably the most efficient water purification technology out there; it can remove toxins and dissolved salts in water.

Conclusion

If you eventually decide to choose well water as your household water source, make sure it’s regularly tested. Finally, choose an effective water purification system to keep the contaminants out.

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