The Risks Involved When Using Untreated Well Water

The quality of the water a person drinks is a major factor in their health and well-being. For example, well water should be kept at safe levels according to local health standards. There are many factors that could lead to contamination of untreated well water. Because this water is not directly exposed to sunlight, it can pose risks to household members. Well water should be treated or tested on a regular basis to ensure its safety.

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If a well emits an unpleasant odor, it could indicate a water contamination problem. Well water contaminated with sulfur bacteria can produce a gas similar to spoiled eggs. This is due to decaying organic material in the well water and near it. Although the smell does not affect well water sanitation, experts say that it is impossible to assume that it is caused by sulfur bacteria. Gas/oil storage tank leakage or sewage contamination can also cause well water odors.

Taste and Color

Water discoloration can occur when well water isn’t treated. This could lead to a variety of problems. Iron and manganese can alter the water’s color as well as impart a bitter taste. They can cause scale buildup in well water and high levels of sodium give it a salty flavor.

Metal Contamination

Low pH water can lead to metal contamination. This is because it causes corrosion of pipes and increases the amount of dissolved iron and lead in the water. Water can also turn yellowish due to a pH imbalance, clay, mineral or soil deposits, and rust.

Microorganism Contamination

Untreated well water could be a breeding ground for microorganisms that can cause gastrointestinal diseases. Specialists tell us that common waterborne microbiological contaminants can affect the quality of untreated water. These include bacteria like coliform bacteria and viruses like hepatitis A. Parasitic protozoa such as cryptosporidium, giardia Lamblia, and parasitic worms like helminths. These microorganisms can cause illness in pets and humans.


Untreated well water can lead to arsenic contamination. According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention), arsenic can be found in soils and rocks. Arsenic can seep from underground wells. It is common in Maine to test well water for arsenic. This is because there are high levels throughout the state. Arsenic contamination can cause diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, as well as problems with the nervous and circulatory systems.

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