raleigh water well sanitizing

A Guide to Well Water Contaminants

Well water in North Carolina is generally very safe and healthy, but sometimes contaminants and pollutants can make their way into the groundwater or they may even be naturally occurring. Even if they are harmless in small doses, it’s important for the health of your family to know exactly what’s in your water so you can take any steps to filter or sanitize your water. To help you understand any reports or warnings and know what to look for, our well pump repair company in Raleigh is sharing a guide to six types of contaminants.

Microorganisms in Well Water

Microorganisms, also called microbes, are microscopic living particles like bacteria and parasites, and when they are in the water supply, it’s often because animal or human waste was introduced in some way. Generally, water runoff or flooding from a river or stream can enter the well from the surface, or a leak in a septic tank or septic field can enter the ground water, leading to contamination.

Coliform bacteria (including E. coli), norovirus, rotavirus, and the parasite giardia are the most common varieties found in well water. These can all cause severe gastrointestinal illness, so if these microbes are present in your water, you’ll need to call a professional for well water sanitizing to eliminate the danger.

It’s recommended to test for microbes annually, as well as if you suspect a water source infiltrated your well or if you notice changes in the color, smell, or taste of your water.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Similar to microbes, nitrites and nitrates are often found in waste matter, but they are also used in fertilizers. This contaminant is more likely to be found in wells near agricultural areas and farms though they can also leak into the ground water through a septic system.

Nitrites and nitrates can cause serious health problems after long-term exposure, including circulatory system and nervous system issues. However, these are especially dangerous to infants and young children as they can affect how oxygen is transported in the blood, leading to “blue baby syndrome,” which can be fatal.

Like microbes, you’ll want to test annually for nitrates and nitrites, and if testing shows presence, a treatment process such as distillation or reverse osmosis will need to be used to remove them.

Heavy Metals in Well Water

Heavy metals include arsenic, lead, copper, and chromium, and are most likely to contaminate drinking water through old plumbing pipes or from runoff from an industrial or mining location. Exposure to heavy metal in drinking water can lead to kidney and liver damage in adults, as well as developmental delays in children.

If your home was built before 1930, copper plumbing was installed before 1986, or if you notice a change in your water, you should have your water tested for heavy metals. It’s important to note that iron is often present in well water, but this is not considered a heavy metal along with the ones listed above.

Radionuclides

Radionuclides are radioactive forms of elements such as radium and uranium and, in certain quantities, can lead to kidney problems and increase cancer risks. While coal mining, nuclear power, and uranium milling can lead to contamination, radionuclides, such as radon are also naturally present in groundwater. This is a particular concern around the Triangle as we have written that Raleigh wells may have uranium naturally occurring.

We recommend well users in the Raleigh area test their groundwater for radionuclides, and after that, every three to five years.

Fluoride in Well Water

Fluoride is commonly found in aquifers and ground water, and this is generally a good thing as it strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent decay. However, too much of this mineral can be dangerous, leading to skeletal fluorosis, which causes joint and bone pain, as well as tooth discoloration.

It’s recommended you have your water tested for fluoride after an infant is born as an excess is of greater concern to babies and small children.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are synthetic chemicals that are most often used as industrial solvents or as components in fuel, hydraulic fluid, paint thinners, or dry cleaning chemicals. However, they can often be used in ink, dye, disinfectants, and herbicides and pesticides in commercial farming. One common herbicide, glysophate, is a VOC that is known to cause liver and kidney damage and cancer in high exposure amounts.

Common VOCs include industrial chemicals, including carbon tetrachloride, benzenes, and polychlorinated biphenyls as well as glysophate. They can infiltrate the groundwater due to improper disposal into waterways or through runoff, as well as by leaching down into the soil and into the aquifers, so it’s important to have your well water tested annually for these chemical contaminants.

Call Us for Well Water Testing and Sanitizing

You depend on your well to supply fresh, clean water to your home, and if there are contaminants, they can make you and your family extremely ill. If it’s been over a year since you last had your water tested, reach out to us today for well testing in the Raleigh area at 919-291-4063 or fill out the form below to get started.

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