What You Should Know About Common Well Water Contaminants

What You Should Know About Common Well Water Contaminants.

Regular testing and timely maintenance of your private well can ensure your family’s drinking water is free of common well water contaminants.



Over 15 million U.S. households (about 15 percent of Americans) depend on private wells for their drinking water. However, private wells are not covered by the EPA regulations that protect public drinking water supplies. So if your family relies on a private well for drinking water, it is extremely important that you be informed about common well water contaminants and the health risks they pose.

What are the most common well water contaminants?

Dissolved salts and minerals

Well water can be contaminated with minerals such as calcium, sodium and magnesium. While these may not have a direct impact on your health, their presence can cause hardness in water. Hard water results in dry, itchy skin and reduces the lifespan of clothing and household appliances.

Trace elements and heavy metals

Although not very common, arsenic, lead, iron, boron and radon are additional concerns for private well owners. While some of these contaminants may result from industrial runoff, chemical spills and urban waste, lead can enter a water supply through the plumbing. Lead is a primary concern for homeowners. It is especially harmful for pregnant women, infants, and young children and has been linked to a number of developmental problems.

Agricultural chemicals and nitrates

Private well owners should take extra caution if they are located near farmlands where fertilizers and pesticides are heavily used. Phosphates and nitrates can leach into the groundwater, causing a number of health issues such as kidney problems and cancer. These risks are particularly dangerous for pregnant and nursing women, infants and the elderly.

Bacteria and other pathogens

In comparison to public drinking water supplies treated with chlorine, bacteria and pathogens such as E. coli and Cryptosporidium present a greater risk for households using private well water. These pathogens enter water through the feces of infected humans or animals, and their health effects can include severe intestinal illnesses.

common-well-water-contaminantsHow do you ensure your private well water is safe?

  1. Know your area’s water concerns. The location and livelihood surrounding your home can impact the quality of your well water. Knowing the possible risks will enable you to take the necessary measures to protect your well from contamination.
  2. Construct the right kind of well. Compared to driven or dug wells, Drilled wells are deeper and have plastic or metal pipes that protect the water from surrounding pollutants. Consult a licensed state contractor or local professional to construct the right well for your home.
  3. Test your water regularly. At a minimum, your private well water should be tested annually, both at the tap and source. Shallow wells require more frequent testing, because they are more susceptible to contamination. Your local Culligan Man is equipped to collect a water sample and send to an EPA-certified lab for analysis.
  4. Invest in water treatment systems. If your water tests positive for any of these common well water contaminants, Culligan has a range of personalized solutions. Water softeners reduce problems caused by magnesium and calcium, while filtration and reverse osmosis systems remove a wide range of harmful contaminants or chemicals.

Protect your home from common well water contaminants. To get started, contact your local Culligan Man for a comprehensive water test.