So, you got your routine water well testing done, and your results came back “unsafe.”
Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize there are countless ways in which well water can become contaminated. Most of them have nothing to do with negligence or poor hygiene—they just happen with natural wear and tear.
Whether your well water tested positive for contaminants or you’re looking for ways to safeguard your private water supply, here’s what you need to know about how well water gets contaminated.
Common Causes of Contaminated Well Water
Here’s just a sampling of possible explanations as to how your well water could have become contaminated.
- Well casing has a crack and/or bad weld at the seam.
- Well casing is too close to the ground, leading to dirt in the well.
- Well casing is poorly grouted or sealed, allowing surface water to run down along the outside of the casing.
- Well casing is too short, especially in a high-bedrock area.
- Garden hose water line was left under pressure, resulting in bacterial growth.
- Well went unused for a long period of time. Stagnant water can be a breeding ground for microorganisms.
- Pressure tank is faulty (e.g. pinhole leak, bladder or diaphragm leak, contamination above water line, contaminated bladder, etc.).
- Well cap is faulty (e.g. cracked, broken, poorly sealed).
- Insects have infested the well (particularly earwigs, which are difficult to get rid of without aggressive cleaning).
- You’re missing a backflow prevention device between your boiler and well water system.
- Gutter downspout is pointed at the well casing.
- Sump pump discharge is pointed at the well casing.
- Nearby septic system is poorly constructed or is too close to the well (less than 50 feet away).
- Well’s check valve is failing.
- Animals or pets are relieving themselves on well casing.
- Well just needs a good-old-fashioned deep clean (with shocking and chlorination).
Of course, there are countless other reasons not listed above, but you get the idea: All it takes is one minor issue with one of your well’s many components, and the entire system is jeopardized. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that you have your well inspected and tested every year!
If you have any questions or concerns about well water testing or contamination, don’t hesitate to reach out to Goold Wells & Pumps. We’re here to help!