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Handling Rare Instances of Lead in Your Well Water Supply

Four generations of experience installing, maintaining and
repairing wells throughout Utah and Wyoming.
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No one wants to deal with known contaminants in their drinking and other home water supply, and one of the single most well-known such contaminants that’s undesirable is lead. Lead is known for some of its negative health effects, and exposure to it in any setting isn’t ideal — and while this sort of thing is not common at all with a water well system, it’s still worth knowing about for the rare instances where it becomes notable. 

At Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC, we’re here to provide full-service water well services throughout Utah, including numerous different areas. From our water well drilling and installation to comprehensive professional water well inspections and more, we’ll ensure that you get a great system that’s kept up-to-date at all times. While we again want to note that lead in well water is a very rare occurrence (and one that, as you’ll see, usually isn’t related directly to the well itself), it’s worth taking the time to be aware of. Here are some reasons why lead is a risk in any drinking water supply, plus how it may make its way into your supply and how to deal with it in these unusual situations.

handling lead well water supply

Why Lead is Dangerous in Drinking Water

First and foremost, it’s important to understand why lead is such a risk in drinking water. Lead is a heavy metal, and it’s one that can cause serious neurological damage — including learning disabilities, developmental problems, and more — in both children and adults. It doesn’t take much exposure to lead to start seeing these effects, which is one of the reasons why it’s so important to be aware of.

In addition, because lead is a heavy metal, it can also cause other health problems on top of neurological ones. These include kidney damage, anemia, high blood pressure, and more. In short, there’s no level of lead that’s considered “safe” in drinking water — which is why you always want to take steps to avoid exposure if at all possible.

Lead is Rare in Natural Water Supplies

Luckily for those who utilize water well systems that draw from natural water supplies, lead is not a common contaminant in these sources. In fact, it’s not found in very many water supplies at all — and when it is, it’s almost always due to contamination from another source (more on that in a moment).

This is good news for those with water well systems, as it means that the likelihood of lead being in your water is very low to begin with. Still, it’s worth taking the time to understand how lead can enter water supplies, as well as what you can do to further protect yourself and your family against exposure.

How Lead Gets Into Drinking Water

There are two primary ways that lead can end up in drinking water: through corrosion of lead pipes or other materials, or through contamination from another source.

  • Pipe Corrosion: One of the most common ways that lead gets into drinking water is through corrosion of lead pipes or other materials. Over time, the acidic water can eat away at these materials, causing them to break down and release lead into the water supply. This is why it’s so important to have your pipes regularly inspected and replaced as needed — and if you do find lead in your water, replacing these pipes is usually the best way to fix the problem.
  • Contamination: The other primary way that lead gets into drinking water is through contamination from another source. This can happen when lead-contaminated water from another source (such as an industrial facility) seeps into the ground and contaminates a groundwater supply. In these cases, it’s often impossible to remove all of the lead from the water, so treatment is the best option.

Occasionally Due to Improper Well Installation

In a small number of cases, the sort of contamination we went over above can be caused partially or even fully by improper well installation. This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important to make sure that your water well system is installed correctly in the first place — and why you should always use a professional, experienced company like ours for the job. If you’re not sure whether or not your well was installed properly, we can help with that too.

For instance, if your well was not properly cased or sealed, contaminants can more easily enter the water supply. This is why it’s so important to make sure that the job is done right the first time — because correcting these sorts of problems can be difficult and expensive.

How to Deal With Lead in Drinking Water

If you do find lead in your drinking water, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the risk of exposure. First, you can have your water treated by a professional company like ours. This will remove the lead from the water, making it safe to drink.

You can also take steps to reduce the amount of lead that’s released into the water in the first place, usually by taking a look at your pipes and making sure they’re in good condition. Replacing any lead pipes or other materials is the best way to do this, but if that’s not possible, you can also have them regularly inspected and replaced as needed.

You can also install a water filter that’s designed to remove lead from drinking water. These filters are relatively inexpensive and easy to find, and they can be a great way to protect yourself and your family from exposure to this contaminant.

Finally, you can make sure that you’re not using any lead-based products in your home, such as paints or solder. These products can release lead into the air, which can then end up in your drinking water.

For more on how to handle rare instances of lead in your drinking water, or to learn about any of our water well drilling or maintenance services, speak to the team at Mike Zimmerman Well Service LLC today.