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Well Water Vs. City Water: What You Should Know


Unless you place a bucket outside to collect water when it rains, there are two possible sources for your drinking water: private water from a well or public water treated by the city and pumped into your home through existing water infrastructure. If you want to treat your tap water for contaminants and enjoy the purest, cleanest drinking water possible it’s important to understand the differences between well water and city water.

Do I Have Well Water or City Water?

15 million households nationwide rely on well water, making it more common that you might realize. You will likely know where your water comes from, but if not ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a water bill? Families using city water pay a regular water bill for the treatment and delivery of that water. Families using well water pay out-of-pocket to cover water testing, maintenance, and upkeep expenses.

  • Is there a water pump or pressure tank near my home? These are clear indicators that you use well water. Well water must be periodically pumped.

How to Treat Well Water

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate well water, so if you have well water you are responsible for testing your water and treating it to prevent contamination from bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants like pesticides. Well water contamination is fairly common — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are millions of cases of waterborne acute gastroenteritis every year.

The first step is to test your well for common contaminants. We offer many types of certified laboratory water tests at Pelican water that test for common well contaminants like coliform bacteria, tannins, manganese, and nitrates.

Based on your test results you can pursue the proper treatment protocol and outfit your home with specialized water filtration systems. With a Pelican Water filtration system you can remedy common well problems including nitrate contamination, rotten egg smell, recurring stomach issues, and dissolved minerals. For example, our Iron & Manganese Water Filter uses a four-stage system to oxidize and remove iron and manganese. A Whole House Water Filter With UV neutralizes coliform bacteria (including E. Coli) that can infiltrate your water from septic tanks or animal waste.

How to Treat City Water

The EPA regulates all municipal water supplies. If you rely on city water your water supply is treated with a combination of chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride to neutralize bacteria and viruses that can cause waterborne illness. However, the chemicals used to treat city water come with their own problems.

Chlorine reacts with organic compounds in your city water to create disinfection by-products (DBPs), the most dangerous being trihalomethanes (THMs). THMs can damage the central nervous system and increase the likelihood of developing kidney or liver cancer. Other common problems in city water include water hardness and contamination from heavy metals like lead that can leech into your drinking water while it travels through aging pipes.

The best approach to treating city water is to install a Whole House Filter & Salt-Free Softener Combination System. By filtering common contaminants like chlorine and heavy metals while preventing hard water issues like scaling you can enjoy the benefits of city water without experiencing the drawbacks. You can also add specialized options like our Countertop Drinking Filter System to address THMs, PFOA and PFAS, and lead with an added layer of filtration and protection.

Pelican Combo System Salt-Free Water Softener Whole-House Water Filter