How safe is well water?

If your potable and washing water comes from a well, is there any rational risk of contamination? I’ve always lived in areas that are served by city or township water but may be moving to an area where all homes have their own well. I’m just wondering what I’m getting into- regular testing, 30 years worth of daily worry that my neighbor’s chemically-assisted lawn will make my kids infertile when they’re adults, inconsistency in taste/smell/hardness-softness, other?

I grew up on well water. My folks still have it. I am sure that someone regularly tests the water to make sure it’s good, and if you noticed a funny tast, I assume you’d have it tested. That being said, our water was clean and tasty the whole time (it does taste different than city water, but you get used to it). Some folks get water with a high iron or sulfur content, and it needs to be filtered or it can get nasty, but you would know that pretty quickly if you inspected the home.

The wells themselves have to be far enough down that contamination is not an issue (the dirt in the ground acts as an excellent filter) from things like chemlawn and such.

It all depends upon the well. Getting the water tested is relatively inexpensive and quick. Depending upon the area, you may need a water treatment system, if you have what’s known as “hard water” (lots of iron and other minerals in the water), you will most certainly want one, as it will stain everything if you don’t have one. The biggest worry I would have is if the well was located in an area that had gas stations, repair shops, or some form of industrial operations. Anyone of those could have so contaminated the water table as to render the well completely unfit.

I grew up in a community where most of the houses had well water. AFAIK, there’s been no sudden spike in health problems of the residents. The only problem that they’ve had is when a massiv golf course opened up in the area, filling up the water hazards so lowered the water table that many people’s wells went dry.

A well is only as good as the aquifier it draws from. You may want to talk with a county or university extension agent familiar with the water wells in the area you may be moving.

Keep in mind many towns and cities draw from well water.

It depends. My wife’s family used to have well water. They had a filtering unit in the basement, and never had any problems.

On the other hand, the book and movie A Civil Action revolved around town water that came from wells within the town that people believed to have been contaminated by toxic waste. (With good reason, I think. I read about this long before the book came out, and have visited the site. There have been industries producing toxic waste there for over a century).

I’d think it’s a good idea to know where you’re water’s coming from, and what is likely to leach in potentially.

Thousands (possibly millions) of wells in Bangladesh have been poisoned by arsenic pollution.

That said, I lived off well water in Ireland for several months, and it was great. I’d imagine most wells in most places are OK, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a test done every few years.

The first time we refinanced, we had to get our water tested. We have extremely rusty water (visibly…and yes, it’s a bitch to keep up with). We figured we were going to be evicted from the house while hazmat teams came in and tore the place down.

Not so! Our water is perfectly healthy to drink even if it tastes shitty. We drink bottled water but cook with tap water. One of these days Mr. Slac…um…Mr. K will put that damn filter on and I won’t have to use Rust-out in the laundry anymore.

This is exactly what’s giving me the heebie-jeebies. As far as I know there’s no leather treatment plant in the neighborhood, but after reading that book and watching the movie, I was afraid to drink bottled water.

Your county will test your water. They gave us a container and we dropped it off and they tell you what percentages are in your water. It’s a piece o’ cake.

We’ve been using the same well for 34 years now. Never had a problem with taste, health, or laundry staining. No filters needed, never had it tested. It all depends on where you are.

As stated above, most County health departments will test your well free of charge, I’ve just never felt the need to get that done.

We have a well. Never had any problems.

My family business is wells and water pumps. I’m of the opinion it is pretty safe. I’ve seen very few wells that are contaminated do to human activity. The wells that I have seen contaminated had been exposed to surface water. In one case it was a drilled well that was done poorly and they did not drive the casing in far enough to make a good seal. In all the others they were ‘dug’ wells which often their source of water is surface water.

Some harmful contaminates such as arsenic and radon exist naturally in the earth and is absorbed into the water. Both are treatable.

Per the board of health in my area all potable water supplies should be tested at least once a year. It is not cheap by any means. A comprehensive test is over 300 dollars lately. For my customers I tell them what the Board of health recommends but also let them know my own well(my fathers actually) hasn’t been tested for at least 15 years.

Well water can change so a periodic test is a good idea. If you notice any changes in your water it is something worth checking out.

There is a solution for just about any contaminant you can find in water it’s a matter of how much money you wish to invest in it.

In most areas, a passing water test result is required by at least the banks for a mortgage approval. Some states require a house have drinkable water in order to allow the sale of the property.

A passing only means the water does not pose a health risk. Staining do to iron or manganese or corrosive water dissolving copper pipes may still exist. A comprehensive test may not identify those types of problems to a casual observer. I recommend at least showing the test results to a water treatment company before a purchase. Taking a sample and letting a water treatment test it very soon after the sample is taken is even better. The water can change while sitting in a bottle so the lab tests often have unreliable data when it comes to PH and dissolved solids.

City water gives you piece of mind because it is tested frequently. Typically at least every 6 months. It also gives you the added taste of chlorine. I’m still content enough with well water. My current house has city water. I take what I get. The next house will likely have well water.

I live on well water. Not far from the Mesabi Iron Range, it is, not surprisingly, high in iron, but harmless. I do use a Brita filter for coffee and ice cubes, but it’s entirely possible that no one could tell the difference in a double-blind test.

It discolors the dishwasher and tubs. Folks who are bothered by that have water softeners, which I don’t like.

As far as safe, it’s entirely up to your nearby environment. Since Lake Michigan is about 100 feet horizontally and 300 feet vertically from my well, it’s a nearly unlimited source. No low-flow appliances needed here. E. coli tests are always negative.

On the other hand, my county is very karst-kountry, and geologists say that it takes only a few months to years for surface water to percolate to the water table, where other places it might take 100 years. So it pays to be careful, especially if you are near agricultural or populated areas.

We used a GE faucet mount filter for a while before I finally buckled down and hooked up a whole house filter on the main line. While the output on the faucet-mount wasn’t so great, it sure took the rust out of the water and was a huge lifestyle improvement over the endless plastic jugs.

http://www.geappliances.com/smartwater/model_fs.htm?GXFM04FBL

I love our well water. It tastes wonderful, and coffee & tea taste better when made from it also. Our house is about 50 years old, and the well is especially deep for some reason. Another advantage is that the water is nice and cold even in summer 'cause it’s coming up from 125 feet down.

We had it tested a couple of times, once when we were refinancing the mortgage and once after that for a home equity loan. It was perfect. Probably better than some of the tap water that’s sold in super markets as “bottled water” at a higher price than gasoline.

We don’t drink it plain, but we make coffee with our rusty water every day.

Don’t get your hopes up. When I lived in Alaska, everybody’s well was like yours. Filters last about a week, then they are plugged and you have to change them. I still couldn’t use liquid bleach in the wash, all the iron would precipitate out and ruin everything.

I use Iron Out. It’s the only thing that keeps the whites white for any length of time.

Great stuff. We used to buy it by the drum.

One time I put a chlorine bowl cleaning tablet in the toilet tank, and it turned the inside of the tank black with iron.