When you use a private well, your tap water is probably pretty different from your city water counterparts. Your water might smell faintly like sulfur, whereas the city water could reek of chlorine. You might have rust stains, but they could have hard water spots or hard scale deposits out the wazoo. Even if you live in the same general area, well water treatment will always differ from city water. That’s because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t monitor private well water like it does for municipal tap water. Hence, a whole different set of challenges.
Common Well Water Treatment Concerns
There are more than 15 million U.S. homes that pull their water from private wells, and each is individually responsible for their family’s water quality. As with any water supply, there are few concerns to watch out for with wells. If you’re trying to figure out the best way to treat your well water, it certainly helps to learn about the top contaminants and water quality issues.
1. Smelly Water
Having hydrogen sulfide in your water can give off an unpleasant odor. If you notice a rotten egg smell in your well water, you’ll need a system that can effectively filter out the scent.
2. Water Stains
High levels of iron can cause well water to leave rust-colored stains around sinks, toilet bowls, and other fixtures. Brown or black staining is typically caused by manganese. Concentrations of iron and manganese can also affect the taste of your drinking water.
3. Cloudy Water
Also called turbidity, cloudy water can sometimes be a sign of having dirt and sediment in your water. Some homes use filters to keep their well water clear.
4. Water Hardness
Hard water problems are extremely common in Indiana—whether you have well water or not. High concentrations of calcium and magnesium are dissolved in most of our water supplies, so a lot of families like to filter out the minerals with a home water softener.
5. Other Water Contaminants
Some of the most common outbreaks in private wells are the Hepatitis A virus, the microscopic parasite Giardia, and some strains of the E. coli bacteria. Well water that has been exposed to fecal matter can put families at risk for any of these contaminants. Associated health issues include liver infections and gastrointestinal illnesses.
A home that uses well water might have some or all of these well water issues. Fortunately, there are some great water systems available that you can mix and match. Some are specifically designed to filter out the iron usually found in well water. Pairing one of those units with a water softener or drinking water filter can help conquer even the toughest well water problems.
The Best Options for Well Water Treatment
When your well water is seeming less-than-stellar, you have options! Combining different filtration techniques can ensure you get the best water quality possible for every tap in your home.
1. Iron Filtration
We like filtering well water with ozone over chlorine because it’s a chemical-free process that’s 50% stronger than other treatment methods. Using oxidation in your iron filter means you get clear, stain-free, odor-free water. It’s an eco-friendly filtration method, and it’s even safe for septic systems.
2. Water Softener
For hard well water, you might want to equip your iron filter with a home softener. Getting rid of the iron and manganese is one thing, but hard water minerals might still be present. Talk with a local soft water expert to help test your water’s hardness. A softener can help remove excess calcium and magnesium and make your water a lot easier to clean with. (Learn more about soft water perks here.)
3. Filtered Drinking Water
Finally, you’ll want to make sure your water is in tip-top shape for drinking. You might need a UV light to destroy any bacteria hanging around after your iron filter and softener have done their job. Or, you might go with a reverse osmosis (RO) unit to really polish your drinking water to perfection. Some trickier water might require both systems in place. The result? Delicious water that’s safe for the whole family.
Every home and well is different, so be sure to consult with your local water treatment experts before committing to any one system or this “trifecta” approach. Your current water quality, water usage, and personal concerns will all play a role in finding the best well water treatment for your home.