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Contaminants That Should Not Be In Your Well Water

No matter where you receive your water from, there is no reason why your water shouldn't taste as delicious as possible. Even with well water, there are many changes you can make to make your well water taste as great as possible. To have the best quality and safest water possible, you must know what is in your well water.

Solid Particles

Well water never contains simply water. The water passes through soil, sand, rock, and gravel. As these minerals dissolve, they introduce iron, magnesium, chlorides, and bicarbonates.

Dissolved Gases and Chemicals

Gases can also dissolve into the well water, including oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Also, organic compounds can seep into well water. This can lead to nitrates, volatile organic compounds (VOC) and pesticides.

Excessive Iron and Calcium

The good news is that the usual concentrations of some of these impurities are not enough to harm human health. However, there are other downsides to these contaminants. For instance, too much iron can stain clothing in the wash. Too much calcium can build up within plumbing.

Harmful Contaminants

There are also contaminants that can have more severe health effects. These include:
  • Pesticides
  • VOCs
  • Lead
  • Nitrates
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
The longer you are exposed to these contaminants, the greater the harm. This is especially true with pesticides, which take time to build up in the body. You may have exposure to pesticides by ingesting water that contains them and by taking a bath or shower in which your skin absorbs the pesticides. 

Volatile Organic Compounds

A VOC is an organic material that has a high vapor pressure at room temperature. Children and infants can suffer immune responses to VOCs. They can cause eye and throat irritation. Those who consume VOCs in large quantities can suffer from headaches, loss of coordination vomiting, nose bleeding, and fatigue. 


Young children are vulnerable to lead exposure. Lead can accumulate in the teeth and bones over time. Lead causes damage to the brain, kidney, liver, and bones. Mothers who have lead in their bones will harm their unborn fetuses as the lead releases from the bones into the bloodstream. 


Excessive nitrates in water can cause hypotension, which can cause dizziness, weakness, confusion, fatigue, and nausea. Mothers who are exposed to nitrates are more likely to miscarriage and are also more likely to have a premature baby. They are also more likely to suffer from the life-threatening preeclampsia. 

Bacteria and Viruses

Wells can contain coliform bacteria. Normally, wells are safe from this bacteria, but a poorly constructed or cracked well can allow soil contaminated with coliform bacteria to enter. While coliform bacteria is usually not harmful, if your tests detect this bacteria, you are also likely to have more harmful pathogens in your water.
Some of the more serious bacteria can cause diarrhea and vomiting. The water may even contain viruses that can cause hepatitis. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can lead to fibrosis, liver cancer, and cirrhosis.
Hepatitis E is most often transmitted through water. While this is mostly a disease found in the developing world, it is becoming more common in the developed world. Because of the contaminants that can exist in well water, make sure to have your water tested for bacteria, metals, nitrates, and VOCs on a regular basis.
Fortunately, if your well is installed by the right company, the company will put the proper safety measures in place to make sure your water is safe to drink. If you are ready to drill a pump for your home, contact us at Clyde Sawyers & Son Well Drilling & Pump Service.