Well Water Problems

A large number of rural homes use well water to provide safe, quality drinking water to their families, but a well can change over time and numerous problems might arise that affect the wells yield, taste, color and sometimes contamination levels. This article will cover the most common well water complaints and some possible solutions. Any noticeable change in water quality coming from your well is grounds for alarm and immediate testing.

Reduced water flow

If the water pressure in your home is noticeably reduced there are a few possible causes that may be to blame. Troubleshooting may include hiring a plumber / well driller and researching current and historical water table levels.

Mechanical problems

Causes Solutions
Pump impeller may be worn and cannot create enough pressure
Remove pump and inspect impeller
Pressure settings are incorrect or pressure switch is defective
Check pump pressure cut in / cut out pressure and pressure tank settings
Borehole failure Inspect the borehole casing for signs of collapse. Repair casing or redrill well

 

Aquifer problems

Causes Solutions
Increases in the use of the well may be straining the aquifer  -Installing a storage tank(cistern) to help even out use
-Reduce water usage
Water table may be affected by other wells in the area -Check for newly installed nearby wells
-Drill to another aquifer

 

Scale and buildup

Causes Solutions
Mineral scale is blocking the slotted casing or well screen -Have well tested and treated for the type of mineral scale
Distribution piping narrowing due to scale and sediment -Remove and inspect faucet aerators
-Check pipes for reduced inside diameter and replace if required.
-Install household sediment filter
Organic buildup (biofilm) If slimy residue is seen around faucets there may be buildup blocking casing slots or screen. Shock the well with chlorine to kill organics.

Sediment in the water

Sediment in your well's water; such as: sand, mud and other fine particles is usually a sign of an improperly constructed well or recent failure of the construction.

Sediment appearing in older well with no history

Causes Solutions
Failure of the well casing or screen -Have a well contractor inspect/camera casing and repair
Failure of the annulus/casing seal -Have a well contractor repair the seal if possible

Sediment in the water

Sediment in your well's water; such as: sand, mud and other fine particles is usually a sign of an improperly constructed well or recent failure of the construction.

Sediment is apparent in newly constructed well

Causes Solutions
Improperly constructed well -Have a well contractor remove the pump and inspect the well and screen
-Well may improve with time and use
Over pumping -install a cistern to help meet peek demands

Change in the waters taste, color or smell

Causes/symptoms Solutions
Corrosion of the well casing - may cause rusty colored water and allow sediment into the well -Have the well inspected and repaired if possible
Biofouling- bacteria present in the water may change the taste, odor or smell (iron bacteria, sulfate reducing bacteria) -(Shock)Chlorinate the well to kill bacteria
Contamination - many man made sources could pose a contamination risk to your well -Have water tested often
-Remove any sources of contamination and refrain from using harsh chemicals and fertilizers

Dissolved gases in the water

Causes/symptoms Solutions
Two main types of gases may be present: Carbon Dioxide and Methane. They can produce a variety of symptoms; such as: rotten egg smell, spurting from the faucet and discoloration. It may be possible to install a vent or air release device. Have a professional inspect your system.
Over pumping - if the well is drawn down to the intake point air may be sucked in. -Reduce demand
-Install a cistern
Damaged suction line on shallow wells. May cause the pump to lose its prime often. -Inspect, repair and replace any damaged/leaking pipe or fittings