Well Water Treatment Systems

Water is something we all take for granted, until there's a problem that keeps us from getting it. A broken water main is a temporary inconvenience, but problems with the water's quality are much more serious in that we may not know that there is actually a problem until the damage has been done.

Those of us who live in towns and cities depend on municipal water authorities to safeguard our water, but people who live in outlying rural areas are their own guardians. That is why it's a priority for people in rural neighborhoods to test their water, and if necessary, install a well water treatment system.


Water Contamination

Most private and rural water supplies come from wells. In most instances, well water is relatively pure, having been filtered by underground aquifers. Increasingly, however, it has been found that the encroachment of agricultural and residential development can cause contamination of ground water many miles away from the source of the contamination. Here are some of the ways in which water can be contaminated:

1. Lead Contamination in Well Water

Lead can be extremely poisonous if ingested over a long period of time. At one point, most water pipes were made of lead (the word plumbing is derived from Plumbum, the Latin word for lead). However, due to the metal's toxicity, the practice has been phased out. If your pipes are made of lead, then you should seriously consider testing your water for lead content.

2. Well Water Contaminated by Pesticides and Nitrates

These chemical residues come from farms, golf courses and residential areas. Many local governments are banning the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, but they may persist in ground water for long periods of time.

3. Organic solvents Contaminating Well Water

Mainly hydrocarbon based, organic solvents like Benzene and Styrene leach into ground water from leaking landfills, hazardous waste disposal sites, and industrial sites past and present. Some of these solvents are potent carcinogens.

4. Well Water Contamination as a Result of Bacteria

Coliform bacteria are the most common water contaminants as they can enter water supply systems from agricultural runoff, especially when storms and floods overload natural and man-made water drainage systems.


Treating Well Water at Home

Home water treatment systems use the following methods to treat water, either individually or in combination:

  • Carbon filtration
  • Distillation
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Cation exchange
  • Anion exchange.

Typically, even the most effective water treatments remove most contaminants, not all. The appropriate method for you will depend on the results of having your water tested. When in doubt, boil all water used for drinking.