Cloudy Well Water Causes and Treatments

Well owners don’t have the luxury of getting treated water at homes like city water users. They have to maintain the water quality themselves as they don’t pay anything for the water they use. One problem which many well owners face and report is cloudy well water. In this article, we will discuss all the reasons behind cloudy well water and how you can get rid of it. Please note that cloudy well water is also referred to as milky or white well water sometimes.

Cloudy Well Water: Reasons and Solutions

Air Bubbles in Water – USGS mentions that cloudy well water happens due to pressure difference in the pipes and the glass. The water in the pipes is at high pressure as compared to the water in the glass. The air in the water rises in the glass or the pitcher containing it and then clears away. If cloudy water is forming just due to air bubbles, it is completely harmless and safe to drink. It happens more commonly in winters as compared to the summer season. Coldwater holds more air than warm water. The well water is comparatively cold inside the well during the summer season, but when it travels from the well to the tap, air bubbles are cleared during its passage from the well to the point of use.

Solution: The best solution to this problem is to let water sit in the glass or the container for a while and wait for the bubbles to clear up. You can even drink with the bubbles as it is just air and nothing dangerous.

Methane Gas – The presence of methane gas is also indicated by air bubbles or cloudiness in the water. The safe limit for methane is 28 mg/L in water. Above this limit, methane in water can get explosive. It is very rare for methane to be present in well water at such a high level.

Solution: Get your well water tested for all the contaminants present in it. The best way to get rid of methane in drinking water is to aerate it. You must vent the aerator in the open air so that the gas will escape and not hurt your respiratory system.

sediments in well water

Sediment – A high level of sediment is also a symptom of cloudy water. If you notice suspended particles and cloudiness in the water simultaneously, there is a high chance that sediment is the culprit behind white water. To test for sediment, let water sit in a glass or a pitcher for 2-3 hours. If you notice sediment at the bottom, then water cloudiness may be due to the presence of suspended particles in your water. If the sediment is in trace amount, it is usually harmless and will not cause any problem. However, if you notice high sediment levels, there is some issue with the well casing, or your well is getting contaminated by runoff sources, or the well screen is damaged.

Solution: Get a sediment filter for well water to remove all the suspended particles. Most filtration systems have a built-in sediment filter. If you already have a filter installed, check the working of the sediment filter. You may need to replace the sediment filter or install a more powerful sediment filter.

iron particles in water

High Levels of Iron and Manganese – Iron and manganese can also impart cloudiness in your water. Iron can give brown, orange, or cloudy color to your well water. Iron and manganese enter the water when it moves underground or from surface run-off contamination. Old homes may face a cloudy water problem due to old plumbing pipes. Iron and manganese are small amounts that are usually harmless, but when their concentration increases and the exposure is prolonged, they negatively affect hurt your health.

Solution: Special filters are available in the market, which removes iron and manganese. If your already installed filter is not working to remove iron, you need a new filter or get your old one inspected.

Rainfall – Another common cause of cloudy water is surface water. When it rains for a very long time or you navigate a stormy season, you may experience cloudiness in your well water. The rainwater gathers and pools up near the well, and it starts to seep in the ground and slowly reaches the water table. If your well casing and well cap are not properly closed and sealed, the rainwater will enter your well and pumped into your plumbing system.

Solution: If the cloudy water problem happens after rainwater, and you also notice a change in smell and taste of water, it is time to inspect the casing and cap of your well. The best way is to call professionals and get the well checked out.

Rusty Plumbing – It is possible that your plumbing is leaving rust, and it is contaminating your water. Rusty water usually shows a brown color, but it can also be cloudy.

Solution: You may need to replace the sections of the plumbing which are old and giving rust.

Water Heater Problems – Sometimes, only the hot water taps show cloudiness. You may not drink from hot water taps, but you may gather it in a bucket and notice cloudiness. It can happen due to heater problems. Hot cloudy water can also occur due to issues with the heating elements inside the water heater.

Solution: Get your water heater flushed and serviced. A professional inspection will reveal the exact problem with it.

Bacteria – Bacteria can also impart cloudiness in your water. Though nothing concrete has been found on this by now, some people have reported that they got rid of cloudy water after treating bacteria in their well water.

Solution: Chlorination is the best remedy for disinfecting your well water. Municipal water is regularly chlorinated to make it bacteria and virus free.

Final Word – What’s the best way to get rid of cloudy water?

Instead of adopting a hit and trial method, go for well water testing. You can test well water at home or hire the services of a professional testing facility. We suggest that you get your water tested from a certified laboratory. They will give you a complete report on water quality. Once you have the results in your hand, you can choose the most appropriate water filter to remove all the harmful contaminants in the water. Remember, our aim is not only to get rid of cloudiness in water but to make it healthy and pure from drinking.

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