If you own a private well water system like the other 13 million American households, you must be worried about taking care of it. Municipal authorities do not regulate private wells. You don’t pay for the water you obtain from wells, and hence you have to take care of it yourself.
In this article, we will be discussing how you can purify well water. This article is not only helpful for existing well owners; it will also come in handy for people planning to dig a well at their properties.
Before we study how to purify well water, let’s look at the reasons for well water contamination.
Reasons for Well Water Contamination
- Well water is contaminated when water moves underground. It can take up impurities like heavy metals, bacteria, and other contaminants in the ground.
- Your well can also be contaminated due to the use of fertilizers nearby. Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and other chemicals used to kill insects and other harmful things in agricultural fields seep in water channels, which can come out in the water from wells.
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can reach your wells due to industrial contamination and fuel drilling activities nearby.
- Wells also get contaminated by the presence of factories, miming sites, dumping sites, mishandles waste, animal feces, and any other activity that is not good for drinking water.
- Poor septic tanks, faulty sewer systems, trash cans can also cause water pollution. Make sure your septic tanks are located at least 50 feet from the well.
How to Purify Well Water for Drinking
When you have a variety of contaminants impacting your well water quality, you need to put in place a multifold strategy to ensure that nothing harmful is left in your water. Unlike city water (which can be purified with one filter in most cases), you would need a complete setup to purify well water. This setup can contain more than one filter along with a water softener, chlorinator, or a combo.
The first step is disinfection. It is used to kill bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms in the water. The common bacteria found in well water are total coliform and fecal coliform. They can cause various health problems in humans. Bacteria get in wells from animal waste and sewage. You can use a device by the name of chlorinator to disinfect your water, or you can physically add chlorine in your water. When you are using a chlorinator, you don’t need to worry about anything. However, if you are adding chlorine yourself, you will have to keep in mind factors like the amount of water, depth of well, and chlorine volume. You can use chlorine oxide and ozone as well. Disinfection can also be achieved by physical methods such as using ultraviolet light, electric radiation, and heat. Many water filters come with a UV light setup, but they are not as effective as chlorine. Chlorine disinfection is also cheap.
If you are putting in chlorine yourself, make sure you bypass all the water filters, softeners, and other water treatment machines. You would need to open all the taps in your home and waste the water with high chlorine content. Once the smell and taste fade away, you can connect the bypassed water filters.
Water filters are used to remove the harmful contaminants in water. They also capture the excessive chlorine in the water. There are tens of water filters available in the market and can remove different contaminants. A water filter can use chemical, physical, or biological barriers to capture impurities in water. When you select a water filter for well water, you must get your water tested from a reputable testing facility. They will give you a detailed report on the quality of water. It will highlight the nature and percentage of contaminants in your water. Once you know which contaminants are present in the water, the selection of water filters will become easy and more relevant. You must make sure that the water filter you are buying or using has a sediment filter. If there is a high level of sediment in your water, it is better to install a separate sediment filter in your setup. You can choose between countertop, under the sink, RO, or a combo water filter setup. Well water is contaminated with heavy metals as well. You may need to install specific filters to remove iron, sulfur, or any other metal with a high percentage in your water.
A water softener is used to remove hardness causing elements from your water. You can go for a salt-based water softener or a salt-less water softener. You can also use an electric descaler or conditioner. If you have got your water tested and there is no hardness causing elements in it, you can skip a water softener from your setup.
Boiling your water is not an ideal solution. It will increase your gas or electric bill and is also time taking. You have to wait for the water to cool down and then drink it or keep it in the refrigerator. Boiling water will only remove contaminants which have a lower boiling point than water. It can also impact the water’s taste. Boiling well water is useful when the filters are not working properly.
Distillation is an advanced shape of boiling. When water is boiled, the steam rises in the form of water vapors. These vapors can be cooled down to get water again. Distilled water is purer than boiled water. Big Distillation plants are often used in industries to obtain 100% pure water.
Other Similar Guides:
- How to Remove Calcium from Well Water?
- What is Sediment in Well Water and How to Remove it?
- How to Remove Sodium from Well Water?
- How to Test and Remove Nitrates from Well Water?
- How to Remove Iron, Manganese, Sulfur & Coliform from Well Water?
Tips to Protect your Well and Water Quality
Apart from installing filters and softeners, you must also work to keep your well water protected. The following tips will help you achieve this.
- Always keep your well closed with a well cap or sanitary seal. It will keep animals, insects, tree debris away, and avoid unauthorized use.
- Periodically inspect the outer parts of the well for missing well caps and cracked or rusted well casing.
- Make sure there is no surface runoff near your well. You can achieve this by sloping the area near the well.
- You must install the septic tank at least 50 feet, keep livestock 50 feet away. Store petroleum tanks, pesticides, and insecticides at least 100 feet and manure stacks at least 250 feet away from your well.
- Get your well water tested regularly after 6-8 months.
- Hire a professional driller to construct a new well, modification, deepening, or any alteration for your well. If you are doing it yourself, you must take professional advice before starting the work.
- Do not mix harmful chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides near the well.
- Do not keep trash cans near your well or dispose of the waste materials in empty or abandoned wells.
- Ensure that all the components of your well water system, such as pump, storage tank, filters, and softeners, are working in mint condition.