Your well water can become contaminated due to human activity—like improper fertilizer usage or poorly maintained septic tanks—but it’s also possible for the contamination to occur naturally. While naturally occurring contaminants aren’t anyone’s fault, they’re still a very serious problem for anyone who drinks or bathes in the well water. Here are three natural sources of well water contamination.
Arsenic is a mineral that’s found in the Earth’s crust, and some areas are known to have high levels of this mineral in their groundwater. This mineral is odorless and tasteless, but if you consume it, you could become very ill. Arsenic is also a carcinogen, and exposure to it could lead to cancer of organs like the bladder or liver.
If arsenic is detected in your well water, it’s best to use an alternate water source, like a public water system. If that isn’t an option for you, you can have an arsenic removal system—which consists of a series of polyglass tanks—installed. This system will treat your well water as it comes into your home.
Radon is a gas that forms when uranium breaks down inside the earth. This gas can dissolve into your water supply, and since it’s odorless, colorless, and tasteless, you won’t even know that it’s there.
When you have a shower, flush your toilet, or wash your dishes, the radon can be released from the water into your home’s air. Breathing this air is very dangerous, and the Centers for Disease Control report that as many as 1,800 deaths occur every year as a result of radon-contaminated water.
If radon is detected in your well water, a plumber can install a point-of-entry filter to remove it. Point-of-entry filters treat all of the water that enters your home, unlike point-of-use filters that only treat the tap that they’re attached to.
Lead is a naturally-occurring mineral that can be found in soil and groundwater, which can allow it to enter your well water. Lead can also be found in your pipes, soldering, well pump, faucets, and fixtures. If any part of your plumbing system corrodes, lead can be released into your drinking water, causing contamination.
Lead, like radon and arsenic, can’t be seen or tasted, so you’ll need to have your well water tested by a laboratory to find out if it’s contaminated. If lead is detected, a plumber can help you determine where it’s coming from. Corroded parts of your plumbing system, like your well’s pump or your lead pipes, may need to be replaced. If the lead contamination is coming from the groundwater, not your plumbing system, a filter can be installed.
To find out if your well water is contaminated, have the water tested by a laboratory. If contaminants are found, ask a plumber, such as Mike Hensley Plumbing Inc, to help you treat the water.