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How To Purify Well Water For Drinking: The Many Ways To Do It
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 23 million households rely on private wells for drinking water. And for a good reason, private well water is a convenient and affordable source of water. However, it’s important to make sure that your well water is clean before you drink it.
Contaminants like bacteria, heavy metals, chemicals, and viruses may lurk in your well water. So, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to remove these contaminants. Fortunately, there are many water filtration systems and methods to make your water supply safe to drink.
We found the best purification method for well water to be reverse osmosis filtration systems because they separate sediments, deionizes, and provides carbon filters to remove common containments found in well water. However, to really improve the water quality, we suggest using a combination of water filtration systems to remove harmful contaminants.
To learn more about the different ways to purify well water and the pros and cons of each method, continue reading below.
Related Articles: 12 Ways to Purify Water at Home
Why Do You Need to Purify Well Water?
Although there are many benefits of drinking well water, it can contain contaminants such as bacteria, sediments, heavy metals, and chemicals. So, for this reason, it’s important to purify well water before drinking. Here are a few crucial reasons you should purify your well water:
- Protection From Harmful Microorganisms: Your well water might have a variety of harmful microorganisms like bacteria, parasites, and viruses. You may contract an illness or a disease if you ingest these microorganisms.
- Removal of Other Contaminants: Aside from harmful microorganisms, well water might also contain other contaminants like minerals, chemicals, and heavy metals. These contaminants may change your well water’s smell, taste, and quality.
- Compliance With Regulations: In most cases, your well water needs to meet the standards set by local regulations. Purifying your well water can help ensure that your water meets the set standards.
- Protection of Pipes and Appliances: The contaminants in well water have the ability to damage pipes and appliances over time. You can protect your pipes and appliances by purifying the well water first.
To get a better idea of the type of contaminants in your water, consider at-home water testing solutions that can inform you in minutes about the heavy metals, chemicals, and bacteria in your well water. It’s important to have your water regularly tested to ensure it’s safe to drink.
Related Article: How to Test for Heavy Metals in Water
How Can You Purify Well Water?
After finding out the types of contaminants that are in your water supply, you should apply the correct water treatment method to remove contaminants and other pollutants. Whether you apply water softeners, filtration systems, or another water purification method, the correct solution can make even the dirtiest water safe to drink.
Related Article: Water Softener vs. Water Filter: Which Do You Need?
Reverse osmosis is a way of purifying water that makes use of a semi-permeable membrane to remove impurities from well water. This water filtration system is one of the most effective methods to remove harmful contaminants and improve water quality. However, the main downside of this water system is that it also removes the nutritional benefits of drinking well water.
Here are some of the advantages of using reverse osmosis to purify your well water:
- Removes Lots of Contaminants: Reverse osmosis can remove more contaminants than most other water purification methods. You can remove microorganisms, heavy metals, dissolved salts, and minerals from well water through reverse osmosis.
- Can Improve Water’s Taste and Smell: By removing impurities from your well water, reverse osmosis can improve its taste and smell.
- Suitable for Large-Scale Use: Reverse osmosis is ideal for large-scale water purification.
- Easy to Automate: You can automate the process of reverse osmosis.
The following are the cons of using reverse osmosis to purify well water:
- Price Point: Reverse osmosis systems are effective, but they also come at a higher price point to purchase and also repair.
- Needs Lots of Water: For reverse osmosis systems to work, you’ll need lots of water. You may run into trouble if you’re only working with small volumes of water.
- May Remove Good Minerals: Reverse osmosis may remove good minerals from your well water.
- May Require Multiple Stages of Filtration: Reverse osmosis systems often require you to use multiple filtration stages. This may lead to your costs piling up.
Ultraviolet (UV) Light Purification
Ultraviolet light purification allows you to kill viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms in well water with the help of UV radiation. Ultraviolet rays mimic the disinfectant capabilities of the sun. By applying UV light to the water, it disrupts the DNA of harmful pathogens, effectively killing the microorganisms in the process.
Here are a few of the pros and cons of using a UV light for water purification.
The following are the pros of using UV light purification:
- No Chemicals: Unlike other methods of purifying water, UV light purification doesn’t use chemicals to purify well water.
- Effective Against Microorganisms: UV light does a great job of killing microorganisms.
- Easy Maintenance: Your UV light purification system will need very little maintenance.
- Compact: UV light systems are typically small, and you can easily install these systems in a variety of ways.
- Affordable: UV light systems are affordable and will save you money over time. This is because they don’t need you to buy and replace chemicals – unlike other water purification systems.
The following are the cons of using a UV light purification system:
- Ineffective Against Other Contaminants: Although UV light can kill microorganisms, it doesn’t get rid of chemicals, heavy metals, and solid contaminants. It may be helpful to add another filtration system that also removes chemicals and heavy metals.
- Requires Electricity: UV light purification systems can’t operate without electricity.
- Ineffective Against High Turbidity: UV light systems may not work properly when faced with water that has high levels of turbidity. This is because cloudy water can block UV light from penetrating the water’s surface.
- Not Suitable for Large-Scale Use: UV water purification systems won’t work well for large-scale use. But if you’re just using the UV light purification system for your home, you’ll be fine.
Related Article: UV Water Filters Pros and Cons: Everything You Need To Know
Boiling water is an effective and simple way of purifying water. When all other options are unavailable, it’s best to resort to boiling water. This simply requires water to reach its boiling point and then allow a rolling boil for 1 minute.
Here are a few of the advantages of using boiling to purify water:
- Cost-Effective Purification System: Boiling water is cheap and simple. All you’ll need is a heat source and a kettle or pot.
- Effective Against Microorganisms: When you boil water, you kill the microorganisms in the water.
- Suitable for Emergency Situations: In emergency situations, other water purification methods may not be available. Luckily, boiling water is simple enough for you to do even in emergencies.
- No Chemicals Required: You won’t need to use any chemicals to purify well water through boiling.
The following are a few of the disadvantages of using boiling to purify well water:
- Requires Heat Source: Sometimes, you won’t be able to access a heat source. So, you won’t be able to boil water.
- Time-Consuming: Boiling water may be a time-consuming process. This is especially true if you need to boil large quantities of water.
- Doesn’t Remove Other Contaminants: Boiling water can’t remove contaminants like heavy metals, sediments, and chemicals. It is primarily used to kill harmful pathogens.
- Not Suitable for Large-Scale Use: Boiling water isn’t efficient if you’ll be purifying large volumes of well water.
Chemical treatment is a way of purifying water by using chlorine disinfection to kill viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
Here are some of the advantages of using chemicals to purify water:
- Effective Against Many Contaminants: Chemical treatment is effective against lots of pathogens.
- Suitable for Large-Scale Use: Chemical treatment is an ideal choice if you’ll be purifying large volumes of water.
- Easy to Use: Chemical treatment can be performed easily on well water and needs only minimal equipment.
The following are the downsides of using a chemical treatment to purify well water:
- May Be Harmful: Certain chemicals used in water treatment may cause you harm if you don’t handle the chemicals properly.
- May Have Negative Environmental Effects: If you don’t properly dispose of the chemicals, they may have negative effects on the environment.
- May Change the Taste or Smell of Water. Some chemical treatment methods can change the smell or taste of your well water.
Water distillation is one way of purifying well water. It involves evaporating and then condensing the steam back into pure water.
Here are some of the pros of using distillation to purify your well water:
- Removes Contaminants: Water distillation is a great way to remove most contaminants. Through distillation, you can remove microorganisms, heavy metals, and chemicals. This is because, in the distillation process, you separate pure water from the contaminants.
- Suitable for Large-Scale Use: Distillation will work well if you want to purify water on a large scale.
- Easy to Automate: You can automate water distillation. So you won’t have to put in as much time and effort.
- May Improve the Taste and Smell of Water: Water distillation can make your well water taste and smell better.
As with the other water purification methods, distillation has its own downsides. These include:
- Energy-Intensive: Water distillation needs a large amount of electricity to operate.
- May Be Expensive: Water distillation systems may be expensive to buy and maintain.
- May Occupy Lots of Space: Water distillation systems tend to be large. So, you may have a problem if you’re working with limited space.
Quantum disinfection is a relatively new method of purifying well water. It uses advanced quantum technology to kill microorganisms, viruses, and bacteria without the use of chemicals or electricity.
Here are some advantages of using quantum disinfection to purify your well water:
- Highly Effective: Quantum disinfection has a high level of effectiveness when it comes to killing microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses.
- Low Energy Consumption: Although quantum disinfection may sound like an energy drainer, it uses less energy than some other methods of water purification.
- Suitable for Large-Scale Use: Quantum disinfection is ideal for well water purification on a large scale.
The following are the cons of using quantum disinfection to purify well water:
- High Capital Costs: Since quantum disinfection systems are relatively new, they’ll cost you quite a bit to buy.
- Limited Availability: Quantum disinfection systems aren’t widely available yet. So, depending on where you live, you may have trouble finding a quantum disinfection system.
- Limited Installation and Maintenance Expertise: Since the technology behind quantum disinfection is still new, there may not be many experts available in your area when it comes to installation and maintenance.
Related Article: What is a Quantum Disinfection Water Filter and How Does it Work?
To recap, purifying well water is an important step you should take to ensure that the water is safe for drinking. Whether you are using a water filter or a chemical solution, there are many ways you can purify well water. These ways include UV light, boiling, chemical treatment, distillation, reverse osmosis, and quantum disinfection. Since each method has its own pros and cons, it’s crucial to think about your specific needs and which method works best for you.
Having a clean source of drinking water is an important step in securing your water supply, especially so for private goods owners. For those interested in living off the grid and becoming self-sufficient, we suggest a full home filtration system to provide clean water for cleaning, showering, cooking, and drinking.
If you found this information on purifying well water for drinking helpful, be sure to check out our other blog posts on our website for even more tips, and techniques on ensuring your well water is safe and ready to drink.
People Also Ask
What are common signs well water is making you sick?
Frequent consumption of contaminated well water can lead to serious negative health effects. If you are concerned your water is contaminated, you should hire a professional to verify the quality of your well water or conduct your own at-home test. Some common symptoms are:
Can a water softener purify well water?
No. Water softeners can remove sediments and harmful metals from the water. But, they do not remove bacteria and harmful pathogens. For this reason, we suggest using a combination of water filtration systems to ensure you can remove common contaminants like heavy metals, sediments, and pathogens.
Can well water be used for showering?
Yes, well water is safe to shower in as long as you do not ingest the water. The minerals and nutrients found in well water are known to soften skin and reduce acne inflammation. However, you should know untreated well water may contain microorganisms that may be harmful to your health. Additionally, well water is hard water which may damage your hair if it contains large sediments.
What are the benefits of well water?
There are some direct and indirect benefits of well water. Some of the benefits include:
- Healthy Skin: Well water is known to help make skin softer and reduce inflammation. This is because well water contains natural nutrients and minerals that help our skin (source).
- Reduces Inflammation: Drinking well water, but water, in general, helps reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints. This is why it's to remain hydrated at all times. This way, your body can function better in most scenarios. However, it is important to test your water regularly to ensure you are not drinking contaminated water.
- Aid Heart Health: With a well, you have access to drinking water. Studies have found that people who drink an adequate amount of water daily are less likely to suffer from heart disease (source).
Do you pay a water bill for using well water?
No, since you are not connected to a municipal water system or city water system, you do not have to pay a fee to use public water services (source).
Is well water safe to drink after a Natural Disaster?
No. Wells can be contaminated by natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and tornados. If you rely on well water, it's best to withdraw your use of the well until you conduct a water quality test or health authorities deem it safe to drink.
How long does it take to boil well water for drinking?
For water to reach its boiling point depends on the amount of water you intend to boil. A higher volume of water takes longer to boil. However, once it reaches its boiling point, it is best to leave the water at a rolling boil for 1 minute. And add 3 minutes for each additional 6,500 feet about sea level you are (source).
Where does well water come from?
To put it simply, the water found in wells comes from the ground. It works by accessing underground aquifers. The wells are holes that penetrate the water table of the Earth. Here, the wall of the well then separates the groundwater from the ground, leaving water in the well. Modern wells deliver water using a pump to raise water to the surface, but traditionally buckets were used (source).
What are common contaminants found in well water?
Although the wall of the wells can separate the water found in the ground, there are groundwater contaminants that cannot be removed simply and requires additional filtration to make the water safe for drinking. Some of the common groundwater contaminants are:
- Coliform bacteria
- Microbial Contaminants
- Synthetic Organic Contaminants
- Volatile Organic Compounds (i.e., chloroform, perchloroethylene (PCE), and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE))
Fortunately, now you can test your water contamination. This way, you can ensure your well water will not make your family sick.
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