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  • Writer's pictureTeena

Well Water Contaminants - How They Affect Your Home & Health

Well Water
Clean Well Water Is The Goal

Even though owning a well can be a blessing that benefits your health and your home, it can also provide unique challenges. These challenges with private wells can appear in the form of water quality or well water contaminants.

There are many options to improve the quality of your well water.

  • Homemade well water filter - the cheapest solution! Get more info

  • Water Softener - they work but there are risks to using them

  • Reverse Osmosis - maintenance can be expensive

  • Activated Carbon - good for pesticides and lead

  • Resin - good for iron

  • Water Ionizer - produces alkaline water that can cause health issues

  • Infrared - produces soft water but only gets rid of bacteria

  • UV Filters - only kills bacteria

Everyone already knows that commercial well water filters costs wayyy too much for the average homeowner.

Almost 10 years ago, I couldn't believe my ears when a nationally known water filtration company quoted me almost $5,000 to fix my well water!

That was almost a decade ago, imagine what it would cost today? Geeeesh!

My Patent Pending Whole House Well Water Filter can be built using the videos and materials in my course.

The parts and pieces used to construct the well water filter can be purchased at your local plumbing supply store or online.

The super duper part of building it yourself is the low cost, low maintenance, install it in a convenient place, and you can tailor is to fix the contaminants in your well or municipal water!

Owning a private well means that it is your responsibility to ensure that the water in your home is safe and free of dangerous toxins. Yikes!

These contaminants can be naturally occurring or a result of human shenanigans. Regardless of the causes, it's important to know what the affects are, how to spot them, and of course how to ensure your well water is safe!

Note: Each year, your shallow or dug well should be thoroughly inspected for cleanliness and all wells inspected for mechanical problems and most importantly: well water quality.

In order to keep yourself and your family safe you have to ensure that you remove common and potentially harmful contaminants that are often present in well water.

Contaminants can possibly present you with both major and minor health concerns. These problems can appear as nausea, headaches, neurological disorders, reproductive issues, gastrointestinal diseases and even more severe diseases such as cancer. We're going to dive into all of these things! (Get it? Dive? Hehe).

There was a report conducted and published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that revealed that over 20% of nationally tested private wells contained a minimum of one pollutant at levels deemed to be potentially harmful to humans. YIKES!!

Homes that rely on town/city provided water are reliant on municipally treated water coming into their homes.

I am still skeptical of water that is provided by a water company or municipality. They test the water at their facility - not when I flows our of your faucet or showerhead! There is a lot that can go wrong in underground pipes and even the pipes in your home that can affect the quality of your water!

rusty water in sink
Rusty Water Ruins Bathroom Fixtures

Let us dive into what contaminated well water can do inside your home!

From rusty to white chalky stains to ruined, plumbing and appliances there is a lot that can go wrong with tainted well water. Here are just a few examples, and signs to look for within your home.

toilet seat
Yucky Toilet From Bad Well Water

1. Stained Toilets and Sinks

One of the telltale signs that your dealing with well water contamination is if your toilet and/or sink becomes stained. And no, I'm not talking about your kid dying their hair blue or washing paint off of their hands. Depending on what has tainted the water it could appear as pink, red, black,. chaulky white, or green.

Sometimes these stains can be easily removed, however they will return if your water is left untreated. Unfortunately, stained toilets are harder to clean than sinks. If you have stained toilets, I bet you've used every product on the market and still those stubborn stains won't completely go away.

Some sinks, depending on the materials, can be equally as difficult. In some instances, it might just be easier to buy a brand new toilet and/or sink instead of scrubbing until you can't scrub anymore. But........that gets expensive!

And do forget, if whatever is wrong with your water is left untreated, you'll just be left having to buy another one again!

The best thing you can do is install a whole house well water filter because it will eliminate the need of having to spend money on a new sink or toilet...again.

Some people use a pumice stone to remove the stains... imagine what that's doing to the finish on your sink, toilet, or tub? That's right, it's scraping the protective coating off and making room for a much larger stain!

2. It Can Ruin Your Clothes

Have you ever thought about all of the places we use water in our houses?

Not only do we bathe, brush our teeth, wash our faces, and drink our well water, we also wash our dishes and our clothes! When your clothes are being washed with bad water, the fibers can become weaker leaving your clothes more likely to become ripped, torn and hole-y.

They also won't actually be clean! You'll find yourself using more and more detergent, but to no avail. Your clothes may still come out of the wash dirty. This contaminated water can also damage your machine and the pipes connected to it!

If this happens you could be forced to buy a brand new machine, or spending a small fortune on a repair man. So, when you're doing your laundry, inspect your clothes for; rust coloring, dirt or grime. Take a look inside of your machine to see if there are any deposit buildups, unusual stains or anything of that nature. If there are, your water is likely tainted and you should resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Another thing to thing about is when washing clothes, the contaminants become airborn and we breathe them in. Sheesh! Something else to worry about!

3. Wreck Your Water Heater

Speaking of all of the places we use water in our homes, I bet you never thought of your water heater being affected!

A tainted well can wreak havoc on your water heater in several ways.

It may create buildup within the connecting pipes or other components. For instance, bacteria, metals and minerals can gather on the bottom of the tank which can cause a limescale buildup. If this occurs your heater is forced to work harder than necessary, and will be at risk for needing repairs done sooner rather than later.

Note: the limescale buildup will cause your water heater to use lots more electricity, oil, or gas to heat up and you'll have less hot water for your shower.

Another good symptom is keeping an eye on your energy bills! If the water heater is working overtime, then you can expect to be paying it overtime. By ensuring your well water is clean, you can reduce the chances of your water heater being overworked and damaged (and of a high energy bill! No one likes those)!

4. Clog Your Pipes

Certain contaminants can lead to clogged pipes. For instance, heavy metals can buildup inside of pipes as time goes by which can lead to extreme clogging. If this happens, it won't be as simple as solving the issue with a plunger. You'll need to hire a professional and/or buy expensive commercial products to remove the clogs.

Contaminated water can also damage your piping system. When it accumulates, mold and mildew can grow which can damage your pipes. Not only that, but the pipes can become corroded which can result in leaks, cracking and breaking altogether.

Note: This happened to me. Thanksgiving morning we were sitting down to dinner when water started seeping from under a cabinet. End of the story is we had to rip out our cabinets and dig into a wall to find a drain trap that had been worn thin due to contaminants. There was a hole about the size of a quarter. (By the way, the turkey was still delicious 6 hours later!)

dirty pan
Lime Scale from Dishwasher

5. Dirty Dishwater

Guys and gals, the struggle is REAL!

Contaminated well water can cause dishes to remain dirty or covered in a chalky residue that is difficult to remove. Even if you use your dishwasher, this can still happen. In very rare instances, you may have to replace your dishes because the residue is so difficult to remove, but even if you don't replace them, washing them may become a serious nuisance.

So, when you're doing your dishes, pay attention to what they look like because they should be coming out clean. If they start to come out dirty, covered in residue or feel like they have something on them then your water is probably tainted. If left unresolved, the problem will worsen.

6. Damage to Appliances

I've somewhat mentioned this already when we spoke about washing machines, dishwashers and water heaters but any appliance that uses water can be at risk if you have contaminated well water running through them.

This includes coffee makers and fridges that have water dispensers, and ice machines. If contaminated water is used repeatedly in these appliances then there is a chance they'll become damaged.

Keep in mind, the chances of this are also dependent on what is contaminating your water. These potential harmful ways that contaminated water can affect your home can lead to a lot of wasted money on repairs, cleaning, maintenance and replacements. To save money in the long-run, a well water filtration system can prevent these problems.

kitchen with 2 people

The Health Risks of Contaminated Well Water

Bad well water can carry both minor and major health risks. Here are just a few of the potential problems you can run into if you're not careful with contaminated well water.

  1. Dry Skin and Hair

One of the least serious side effects of bad well water is dry skin. Contaminated well water can leave you with skin that is itchy, red or scaly. So rude! I mean, you are bathing in it and washing your hair regularly right? It's not going to just magically go away if you don't fix your water problems–whether you moisturize or not!

Your hair may also be affected, as it will dry out. It may also continuously feel dirty even after you wash it regardless of your shampoo and conditioner. If you notice your skin and hair is having these problems then it is a good time to get your well water checked for contamination!

Another symptom of bad well water is when your shampoo and dish soap doesn't foam up very much. I've had well water that is so bad that whenI try to lather up the shampoo, it does nothing.

2. Infections and Illnesses

There is an abundance of illnesses you can get from contaminated well water. They includes parasitic, bacterial and viral infections that can find their way into your well water and contaminate it. If you drink, bathe in, or wash clothes in water that has any of those, you could experience various illnesses/infections.

For many decades, I did laboratory testing for bacteria and parasites on people that drank contaminated well water. Believe me, they were SICK!! 🤢

Even if you get yourself treated but you don't treat your well water, your symptoms may worsen. Duh. You need to treat your well to get rid of the contaminants - makes sense, right?

One of the ways bacteria, microorganisms, parasites and viruses can get into a well include water run-off. For instance, melting snow or a rainstorm may bring these little buddies into your drinking water. Another way they squirm their way in is via a leaking underground storage tank.

The best way to ensure your drinking water is protected is by having a well water filter installed. But we'll get into that later!

3. Organ Damage

Okay, now we're getting serious. Potential organ damage is a serious consequence of drinking tainted water. You could damage your kidneys, liver and even your intestines. There may even be, in extreme cases, anemia and/or cancer.

If the water is left untreated and you continue to consume it you may risk becoming seriously ill. These contaminants can be caused by heavy metals, which can easily infiltrate your well water.

The most common type of metals found in well water are copper, arsenic, lead, chromium, and antimony. But this is just a small example of the metals that can find it's way into your drinking water!

4. Bone and Joint Pain

Another contaminant that can infiltrate your well water is fluoride–when too much of it is consumed, it can cause serious problems such as skeletal fluorosis.

Skeletal fluorosis is a condition that causes pain in the joints and bones. It may start mildly, but it can progress to severe pain that is difficult to find relief from. Too much fluoride can also ruin your teeth, causing discoloration and pitting. In severe instances you could experience dental fluorosis, which causes a tremendous amount of pain.

5. Damage to the Nervous and Reproductive Systems

Organic chemicals may find their way into your well water. The most common ways they do this is via spills, waste disposal, and rain water run-off. These organic chemicals may come from various sources, including both house-hold and outdoor products.

One of the major side effects of consuming these organic chemicals is damage to the nervous system. They can also damage the reproductive system and may lead to serious issues such as infertility. In some cases the circulatory system may become damaged as well.

I do want to note, and this is important, that you would need to consume an abundance of these organic chemicals to experience these side effects. However, if you leave your well untreated, these chemicals will continue to contaminate your water and vis-a-vis yourself and your family.

These are more scary symptoms of tainted water only because you may not notice them at first until one of these major systems starts malfunctioning.

6. Eye Infection

If you thought your eyes were safe from this nonsense think again!

Aren't you bathing and washing your face with your well water? If so, then you want to make sure it's as clean as possible. Washing your face with bad well water can cause serious problems with your eyes including trachoma, which is an eye infection that if left untreated could lead to blindness!

Even if you don't develop an obvious eye infection, the contaminated water can still affect your eyes slowly over time. They may become irritated, itchy, or red and Ben Stein may not be able to help you!

7. Diarrhea - YUCK!!!

Contaminated water can lead to diarrhea. If pathogens make their way into your water and you then consume that water, diarrhea may be your first sign to get your well water checked and treated! If you don't normally experience diarrhea and you suddenly start experiencing it more frequently than usual, it's time to check your well system or invest in a well water filtration system.

8. Hepatitis A

This may be a shock, but if your water contains the Hepatitis A virus and you drink it, you could end up with Hepatitis A. This disease affects the liver and is contagious. So it is possible that you could have caught it from someone in close contact with you, or you could spread it to others.

It's important to be aware of the symptoms of Hep A which may include fatigue, depression, weight loss, lack of appetite, nausea and pain. For most people the infection will subside within a few weeks, but it can take up to several months for them to start feeling better.

Remember, some of the conditions, signs and/or symptoms of contaminated water may not occur right away. However, to ensure you and your families safety, have your water inspected regularly. Especially if you do not have a well water filtration system in place. This will reduce your chances of potentially experiencing adverse health affects from your well water. Better safe than sorry!

woman plumber
Bad Well Water Ruins Plumbing

So we've discussed what contaminants can do to your house and your health, but let's talk about what's actually contaminating your water in the first place!

well water contaminants
Yucky Well Water Contaminants !

1. Hydrogen, Sulfide, Manganese, and Iron

These are contaminants that are typically safe for consumption, but just like everything there can be too much of a good thing. When these particular things are in abundance they can impact your water quality leaving it with a rotten egg smell, metallic taste or black, brown, or orange stains on your appliances.

2. Arsenic

Even though arsenic is a chemical element that occurs naturally in soil and rocks where it serves as a tool for agriculture, it can result in serious issues in your well water. Since this is one of the naturally-occurring chemicals we mentioned before, it can enter your water supply through agricultural and industrial pollution as well as natural deposits in the ground.

In case you haven't seen or read Arsenic and Old Lace then it behooves me to tell you that arsenic poisoning can result in life-threatening problems such as neurological issues, heart disease, and even cancer. While arsenic isn't present in all wells, proper filtration is necessary for your safety.

3. Sediment

Dirt, rust, dust and large sand particles are commonly present in wells. These contaminants are usually harmless but they can damage your appliances and plumbing.

4. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)

This is a contaminant that sounds scary, and for good reason. VOCs is a term that references industrial chemicals classified as potentially harmful to human health. The USGS (United States Geological Survey) states that VOCs commonly found in American wells include MTBE (methyl test-butyl ether) and PCE (chloroform perchloroethylene)..

Whether you should be worried about VOC contamination is dependent on the location of your home. Nearby manufacturing facilities and gas stations can be a cause of concern for VOCs in your water supply. MTBE is found in gasoline, however it's use has been somewhat decreased since 2005 due to growing environmental health issues.

5. Hardness Minerals

Magnesium and calcium are the minerals that cause hard water. They are usually found in high levels in several well water systems. Hard water causes the formation of scale which is very damaging to the plumbing and water-using appliances in your home.

6. Radon

Radon is a type of gas that is commonly found in water and is extremely hard to detect. It's colorless and doesn't have a taste–think of it as the invisible enemy. You could be drinking water contaminated with radon and not know it. This radioactive gas is commonly found in rocks and soil.

When using water for activities like washing dishes, showering, or even watering your plants you could be releasing radon gas into your home. Small levels aren't harmful, but if it builds up, the potential consequences could increase to things such as lung cancer.

7. Bacterial Contamination

Wells with cracked casing or wells that are positioned in close proximity to farms or septic systems could be susceptible to bacterial contamination. E. Coli is one of the dangerous types of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness when water containing it is consumed.

8. Heavy Metals

Selenium, lead, chromium and other types of heavy metals can enter a private well from pollution in the local area. They could also come from outdated components made of metal in the well itself. Most heavy metals, particularly lead, are highly toxic.

9. Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural chemical that is found in the earth. Low concentrations have been promoted as something that might be good when it comes to dental health, but high levels in your well system could lead to bone and dental conditions like I mentioned above.

woman with glass of water
Do You Have Contaminated Well Water?

Use Your Super Power Eyes

Now that we know what can affect your health, your home and what can cause these problems, let's discuss the important part: what to look for!

1. Opaque and Unclear Water

If you turn on your faucet and the water is murky, opaque or unclear it might be contaminated. You want it to run clear! When water flows over silt, rust, clay, salt or dirt it may pick up particles and carry it straight to your faucet. This could also be a sign of plumbing issues like rusted or corroded pipes.

2. Scum or Scale

Scummy or scaly buildup from water might indicate high levels of magnesium or calcium. These contaminants are the ones that turn your water hard. Scale buildup appears as a white residue that clogs faucets, shower heads and pipes.

3. Green Stains on Faucets or Sinks

If you begin noticing green stains on any of your faucets or sinks that could be a sign that there is too much acid in your water. Acid contaminants appear as copper, zinc, magnesium and iron. These could be leaching into your water through natural deposits which will then weaken and corrode your pipes.

4. Red or Brownish Stains

If you're noticing red, or brownish stains on your dishwasher, sinks or even your clothes it could be a sign that your well water contains dissolved iron. Iron deposits are associated with a number of health risks which can include damage to the pancreas, liver and heart.

Let's Talk About Taste, Baby!

If you're not seeing any visible signs of tainted water, one of your other senses may be able to pick up on some clues!

1. Soapy

Water that has a soapy taste could be a sign of high alkaline levels. These minerals commonly include bicarbonate, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. At increased levels many people can experience skin irritation and gastrointestinal issues.

2. Salty

Water that tastes salty can be caused by high levels of chloride or sodium. These chemicals in high levels can damage and corrode your plumbing, and can also be dangerous if you are following a low-sodium diet.

3. Chemical

A chemical taste residing in your water could mean that pesticides or chemicals have found their way into your well. This could be caused by runoff or when the chemicals have seeped into the surrounding groundwater. These chemicals could present serious health risks.

4. Metallic

Acid pollutants can also lead to a metallic taste. If your water starts to taste like pennies it could mean that the acid contamination level in your water is too high.

Moving Onto Sense Number 3!

You can't see it, you can't taste it, maybe you can smell it!

1. Detergent

If your water starts to smell kind of like you know what, your septic tank might be leaking into your well water. Caution - sarcasm ahead! Believe it or not septic tanks carry many contaminants that can be detrimental to your health! Shocking, I know. Haha

2. Rotten Eggs

I don't know about you but the smell of rotten eggs is one of the grossest things–now imagine you smelling rotten eggs by running your shower water. Where you're supposed to be clean! The audacity...

Rotten egg odors indicate hydrogen sulfide gas of sulfur bacteria. Sulfur bacteria occurs naturally and forms through chemical reactions and decay in rocks and soil.

3. Chlorine

If you've noticed that your water inside the house smells like a swimming pool then you probably have too much chlorine in your water. Chlorine is a common chemical that's used to treat water, but high levels can be dangerous for your health.

Tips To Avoid Bad Well Water

We've made it this far! So let's talk about what you should do now. Keep in mind that not every well water issue is preventable, but you can still do a little work to make sure your drinking water is clean.

Regular Maintenance

Just like a car, your teeth, or your body, your well needs regular maintenance. Wells are pretty simple, yet if one of the components fails it could lead to issues. For example, metal screens can rust, casing can crack, and your water can be susceptible to sediment, chemicals or bacteria.

It is recommended to check all of the above-ground components of your water system like jet pumps, well caps, and pressure tanks at least once a year. A full inspection of your well should be conducted annually.

Protect Your Well

The University of Georgia Extension Service has suggested these tips to protect your well from potential contamination sources such as:

  • Avoid flushing petroleum, pharmaceuticals, personal care, or chemical products down your drains or toilets. The residue will enter the leach bed where it will pollute your groundwater. Instead, discard these products at a collection center or in your trash.

  • Mix agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers far away from your well. Preferably you can do this on a down-sloping area that will shunt any spills away from your wellhead.

  • Avoid burying human waste or dead animals anywhere near your well.

  • Install a backflow prevention device on any of your outdoor faucets. These atmospheric-vacuum breakers stop polluted backflow from irrigation systems or a pool from flowing into your well.

Annual Well Water Testing

With private wells, it's up to the homeowner whether to have their water tested or not. There are no federal or state agencies that monitor the quality of privately owned wells. However, the CDC recommends having your water tested annually for nitrates, total dissolved solids, coliform bacteria, pH level, arsenic, and any environmental contaminants that maybe present in your local area from VOCs (volatile organic compounds).

Having your well water tested before you choose the appropriate water-filtration system for you is very important! It's important to know what type of contaminants you have so that you can get a system that will target them. For example, high concentrations of iron can destroy the resin present in water softeners.

Of all of the potentially harmful pollutants that can infiltrate your drinking water, only one or two might be present in yours. But when it comes to your home and your health it is very important to understand what types of contaminants you're dealing with. If you haven't checked the water for some time, we recommend contacting a company that specializes in well water testing.

Dig Deeper

If the problem isn't going to be fixed on the surface, maybe you need to dig deeper! If your well has existing bacteria and is beyond repair then you can drill a new, deeper well to avoid future contamination. Most chemicals and bacteria seep into a well from runoff, which means water coming from a deeper underground aquifer should be cleaner.

A drilled well is not the solution to all of your water issues! However, some pollutants are easier to keep under control. As an added bonus, the water pressure is usually much better in a deep well.

Water Filtration Systems

Buying a commercial water filtration system. This is an expensive option, but it is an option! If you can't afford one or don't want to spend money on one then don't worry! You can purchase the course to build a homemade well water filter.

Here are a few benefits and advantages of using a DIY filtration system for your well:

  • Easy Installation - Our DIY water filtration system is very easy to install. It comes with clear instructions on how to do it. What this means is that you won't be struggling for hours on Youtube trying to figure things out!

  • Effectiveness - The best thing about our homemade well water filter is it is effective. If you want to reduce toxins, metals and other harmful contaminants from getting into your well water, then you'll want to get our filter because it'll get the job done. On that note, your water will likely taste better and feel better on your skin!

  • Long Lasting and Durable - Our homemade filter is durable, and will last a long time. Furthermore, it's virtually maintenance free. Simply set it up, and you're good to go!

If you're dealing with tainted well water, and your concerned about harmful contaminants to your house and health then order our homemade DIY well water filter today!


Why risk drinking polluted water from your well? There are several affordable systems to choose from when it comes to treating your water!

Whether you choose reverse osmosis, carbon filters, or my DIY - Homemade Well Water Filter, there is always a solution for all types of well water problems!


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