The Potential Impacts of Contaminated Well Water
Living in the countryside can provide you with a sense of calm and connection to nature. However, if you live in a rural area, you must exercise caution since your water may originate from a local well that could potentially become tainted. Look below to discover the potential impacts of contaminated well water.
How Do Wells Work?
Wells draw water from subterranean reserves of water known as aquifers and send it through your home's pipes for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning. Wells refill when rainfall and water used for irrigation and landscaping seep into the rock hidden beneath the soil. The water level can change according to yearly rainfall patterns, droughts, and the volume of water pumped out of the aquifer.
What Can Cause Contamination?
Both naturally occurring and man-made sources can potentially contaminate private wells. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies common well water contaminants into six categories: microbiological, heavy metals, organic compounds, radionuclides, fluoride, and nitrates.
Microbiological pathogens, such as E. coli bacteria, come from natural sources in the environment, including topsoil and both human and animal waste. Pathogenic bacteria can cause polio, cholera, typhoid fever, dysentery, and infectious hepatitis, among other maladies.
Heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and copper can pollute private wells via groundwater flow and surface water seepage and discharge. Ingesting large doses of these metals can put you at risk of illnesses such as liver, kidney, and intestine damage; anemia; and cancer.
You can find organic chemicals in various household items as well as agriculture and industrial processes. Organic compounds pollute private wells and infiltrate underground aquifers through waste disposal, spillage, and stormwater runoff. People who intake a lot of organic compounds could harm their kidneys, liver, circulatory system, nervous system, and reproductive organs.
Nitrates and Nitrites
Chemical fertilizers, human sewage, and animal waste and fertilizers all include nitrate and nitrite. Nitrates are transformed into nitrites once they enter the body. Elevated nitrate and nitrite levels are especially dangerous for newborns, producing numerous health issues.
Radionuclides are radioactive elements like uranium and radium. They can raise the risk of cancer and kidney damage in people and seep into wells because of uranium mining and milling, coal mining, and nuclear power generation.
Fluoride can help prevent tooth decay. You'll detect fluoride in numerous aquifers as well as private wells. But heavy fluoride intake can result in skeletal fluorosis, a disorder marked by bone and joint stiffness and soreness.
Who Is Responsible for Water Quality of a Well?
Municipal or state laws may govern private well construction. The quality of a private well's production, on the other hand, usually is entirely the responsibility of the owner. That's why it's essential to test your well annually for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels.
Additionally, you should have your well tested immediately under circumstances and signs such as:
- Natural disasters
- Nearby waste disposal sites
- Land disturbances
- Change in water characteristics
- Well repairs or replacements
You can help prevent and offset the potential impacts of contaminated well water by regularly testing and installing whole house water filtration systems. Alamo Water Softeners provides the best in San Antonio water testing for your private well. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about our services and products.