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dirty well water compared to clean well water

Well Water Filters are “Well” Worth the Investment

Many homeowners who live far away from their local municipality choose to source their home’s drinking water from a private well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 million households in the United States use private well water for drinking, cooking, and bathing water.

If you own a private well, you’re responsible for ensuring the water is safe to drink. You won’t receive any sort of water quality reports from the local municipalities. Even if you’re conducting routine tests and maintenance, one day you could turn the tap on and discover brown or cloudy water.

What Causes Brown or Cloudy Water in Wells?

This unpleasant surprise isn’t unusual for well water drinkers in rural areas when swells of rain lead to saturation or flooding. This month in Jay, Oklahoma, steady rainfall threatened the water quality and forced the local utility company to conduct water quality tests every 15 minutes.

Brown or cloudy well water can occur for a few reasons. Heavy rain and subsequent flooding increase the likelihood that polluted surface water will infiltrate well water, discoloring and contaminating it. Surface water infiltration may enter the well through improperly installed well heads or cracks in aging well walls. If your well is within 100 feet of a septic system, heavy rain can cause the septic system to overflow and contaminate the well with fecal bacteria.

In all cases, it’s not the color or taste of the well water that poses a threat to public health, although neither are pleasant. The real concern is the possibility of bacterial contamination.

Testing Your Well Water

Well owners who see brown or cloudy water in their cup must test their well water for the presence of coliform bacteria and E. coli. If tests come back positive, you should repair your well structure, thoroughly disinfect the well, and retest to ensure your water is safe to drink.

Coliform bacteria are commonly found in animal intestines, surface water, soil, and plants. While most strains are harmless, the presence of coliform bacteria indicates well water has been contaminated and more dangerous pathogens may be present. The presence of E. coli, a strain of coliform bacteria, in well water suggests the water has been contaminated with human or animal waste.

Benefits of a Well Water Filter

When you are in charge of monitoring and maintaining your well’s water quality, installing a comprehensive water filter system is the best step you can take to safeguard your family from waterborne illness and other harmful contaminants.

  • Installing a whole house filter with ultraviolet protection reduces 99.9% of waterborne bacteria, destroying their ability to reproduce. Such filters allow you to safely drink your water while repairs are underway on your well and afterward.
  • Testing your well water and installing a specialized well water filter that addresses common contaminants in your area can save you thousands of dollars in maintenance and disinfection costs.

    For example, tannins are common in coastal and swampy areas where decaying vegetation can leach into your well water. A tannin removal water filter will eliminate tannins that are associated with high turbidity. Nitrates are another example of regional contaminants that can be found in well water after flooding. Nitrates can cause methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby” disease — take care of them with a nitrate reduction water filter.

  • Well water filters address aesthetic issues in your water like foul smell, taste, or consistency problems from hard water or salt contamination. Installing a combination of a whole house filter and a water softener alternative in your home can address hard water in your well to prevent scaling and costly buildup. A sulfur water filter system can address the rotten egg smell caused by naturally-occurring sulfates and sulfides.

Don’t wait until problems arise to guarantee the quality and safety of your well water. Learn more about well water treatment at our education center and browse our wide selection of well water filters sorted by the most common problems well owners face.