3 Common Well Water Problems and How to Fix Them

When a new spring season arrives, it can affect the quality of your well water supply in a number of different ways. Approximately 12 million American homes draw their water from private wells, and if your home is amongst them, you could be affected. Here are three common springtime well water problems to look out for and some ways to correct them. 3 Common Well Water Problems and How to Fix Them

1. Salt Water Contamination

During the winter our roads will be coated with a mixture of salt and sand to help our cars grip the road on slippery roads. Salt will easily dissolve in water and will eventually find its way into our lake, streams, and rivers. Finally, the salt enriched water will seep into the groundwater, and this can result in well contamination as the temperature rises.

The mixture of road salt in heavy snowfall conditions will blend with the snow when it’s plowed from the road surfaces. The banks of snow created by plowing will eventually melt, and the salt will migrate through the soil to the water table. Our water table is a subterranean level of rocks or soil that are permanently saturated with water. Another contributing factor is the runoff from large deposits of uncovered salt that could contaminate wells and aquifers.

The best way to deal with salt water contamination is to install a water treatment system to restore the quality of water supplied to your home. Many people choose a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system that will use multiple filters to remove any unwanted contaminants including salt. Another solution to consider is the installation of a new well that’s installed further uphill and well away from drainage.

2. Agricultural and Wet Weather Runoff

Agricultural runoff can introduce a number of contaminants into well supplies, such as chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and waste from livestock. This occurs when the water that is used on farm fields for irrigation leaves via rainfall, melting snow, and irrigation procedures. As the water moves from the farm, it will pick up the aforementioned pollutants and deposit them into nearby waterways. When an area receives more rainfall, it will increase the likelihood that agricultural runoff will occur there.

The first step that could be taken to deal with agricultural runoff is to make sure that your well is located on higher ground. If water well is drilled too close to a farm or septic system, it will increase the risk of contamination from wet weather runoffs. Next, it may be prudent to install a water treatment system to remove chemical and bacteriological contaminants. An RO system is a good choice, but an additional ultraviolet (UV) water treatment system can kill any bacteria or viral health threats.

3. Unpleasant Water Odors

During the onset of spring, the ground will thaw, and you may notice an unpleasant odor coming from your well water. This odor will typically smell like rotten eggs or sewage, and it’s caused by hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S). Even small concentrations of H2S are noticeable, and although it isn’t likely to cause health problems, it can be a nuisance.

There are a number of ways to reduce hydrogen sulfide.  Air, chlorine, and ozone are a few common treatment methods.  Consult with your local water treatment expert to determine the best method for your water chemistry.

By Mark Williams (NicMar President Mark Williams holds degrees in Applied Science and Industrial Thermodynamics, along with Agricultural Mechanization and Systems Engineering from Ohio State University.  He also holds the highest possible industry ranking, being WQA (Water Quality Association) LEVEL 6 Certified.)

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Nicmar Water
999 Baltimore Road York SpringsPA17372 USA 
 • 800-542-8649

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