According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 15% of Americans rely on well water as a source of drinking water. There are many benefits to using a well to access drinking water, with one of the main ones being that it is cost efficient. However, many people have concerns when it comes to drinking water from wells, and worry that the water might be contaminated.
Well water is typically safe to drink, especially in the United States. However, because private wells are not covered by the EPA, this water is not regulated and therefore there is no guarantee that the water is safe. The following aspects should be considered when determining if your well water is safe:
- How was the well constructed? Ensure that your well was constructed properly and functions smoothly.
- How deep-seated is your well? It is suggested to have a well that is over 800 feet deep; as a rule of thumb, deeper wells produce cleaner water.
- What is the underground geology surrounding your well? Contaminants are more likely to enter well water in certain geological conditions, so be sure to place your well in an appropriate location.
- Which elements are more abundant in your location? Arsenic, copper, radon, and calcium are all naturally-occurring elements that can influence your water.
- Are you located near commercial farms or animal feeding operations? If so, there is a possibility of your well being contaminated with runoff pesticides or herbicides.
The most effective way to make sure that your well water is safe to drink is to get the water tested on a routine basis. Well water is perfectly safe to drink as long as it is not contaminated. Wells can quickly become contaminated with Coliform bacteria, nitrates, or other harmful contaminants, so getting the water tested at least once a year can help ease any worries of unsafe drinking water.