There are several concepts that are important to consider when installing a new water well on any property, and filtration is high on any such list. Unfiltered well water may contain a variety of different contaminants present in the soil where water is being pulled from, but the right filtration setup will ensure that none of these make their way into your drinking water and risk your health or that of anyone else in your home.
At Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC, our water well drilling and installation services include every theme you might need for a well, including filtration concepts. What are some of the most common contaminants your filter will be keeping out of your system? Here’s a primer.
Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites
These are likely the most common types of contaminant found in standard groundwater today, and they can be particularly dangerous because people are often not aware that they’re ingesting them. Bacteria, viruses and parasites may originate in places like septic tanks or other wastewater systems, which is why it’s important to make sure your water well system has a proper filtration setup in place.
A common parasite, for instance, is E. Coli, which can cause severe illness if ingested. Other parasites include Giardia and Cryptosporidium, which often show up in water sources after flooding events or other situations where human activity spreads contaminants like feces into groundwater.
Arsenic, Lead and Copper
Next up among our list of possible water well contaminants is a group that’s caused by the presence of heavy metals and sulfides in soil. These can enter the water supply when it’s exposed to air, and they’re most common in places where arsenic-rich minerals are found. Arsenic exposure can cause a wide range of health problems, from nausea to kidney failure.
Lead is another problematic element that shows up in groundwater, and it’s often related to old buildings or their plumbing systems. While lead exposure has declined in recent years due to legislation prohibiting its use, it is still an environmental concern in some areas.
Sulfide minerals are yet another source of common contaminants that appear when groundwater is exposed to air, and they can cause odors in water if not properly addressed. The smell of rotten eggs is typically a strong sulfide and indication that the water well has been contaminated.
Nitrates and Nitrites
These are contaminants that show up in water supplies, but they are also naturally present in soils. Nitrate contamination can be caused by animal waste seeping into groundwater or because of the use of fertilizers on farmland, so it’s important to check if your area is at risk for this type of issue.
Nitrite concerns usually stem from nitrates being converted into their oxidized state by soil bacteria found in well water. This comes through the process of nitrification, and it’s also a natural one that often occurs in land where fertilizers are used. While nitrates may not be dangerous for adults, they can cause problems with infant health when they’re present in drinking water.
Again, though, proper filtration will keep these away from your water supply.
Pesticides, Paints and Disinfectants
In other cases, contaminants that cause problems in water wells are chemical irritants that come from a variety of sources. Pesticides, for instance, may have been applied to the property when it was being used for farming or landscaping, and they can contaminate local groundwater supplies in the process. Many pesticides dissipate quickly over time if exposed to air or other factors, but some are persistent.
Paints and solvents that have been improperly disposed of can also find their way into groundwater sources, posing a potential health risk to anyone who drinks the water. While it’s hard to know what chemicals have made their way into your well, it is possible to test for them with professional testing services.
Another major contaminant category to be aware of is sediment, which is a very common issue when it comes to water wells and refers to small dirt and sand particles making their way into your water. Sediment can be caused by erosion, which is a natural process that occurs over time, but it also poses a risk because of human activities.
One such example is construction projects in your area. Since they can spread dust and dirt into the air, which then finds its way into groundwater sources, sediment can make an appearance in your water well even if it’s many miles away. Therefore, the location of your property matters when it comes to this issue.
Radionuclides are radioactive particles that can cause a wide range of health problems. They make their way into groundwater by various ways, including the presence of fertilizers and pesticides on land near your property or hazardous waste being disposed of improperly.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established safe limits for radionuclides in drinking water based on studies about how they affect human health. Like other contaminants, you want filtration in place to remove any radionuclides that could potentially be present in the water source on your property.
While fluoride in the right amounts is a healthy and beneficial substance for helping prevent tooth decay and other dental issues, it can be present in excessive amounts in groundwater — and this can lead to skeletal damage, tooth discoloration and other health concerns. Luckily, a proper well filtration system will only allow safe amounts of fluoride through into your drinking supply.
For more on the various contaminants your water well filtration system is helping to eliminate, or to learn about any of our water well installation, rehabilitation or repair services, speak to the pros at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC today.