Private Water Systems – Potential Well Water Contaminants, 
Their Impacts, and Removal

Before the advancement of technology, humans have long been using individual water systems as their primary source. According to EPA, these systems are ‘’nonpublic sources’’ and ‘’private water systems’’.
Nonpublic sources consist of using water from springs, streams, and ponds. Whereas, the private water system consists of private groundwater or residential wells.
Although they sound old school, these individual water systems are better than the ‘’public-water’’ supplied by our government in many aspects.

This is because the water supplied by the municipal authorities has to go through many canals, paths, and pipes before running through our taps, which results in numerous forms of industrial, agricultural, and microbial contamination.
On the other hand, well water only has to pass through a pipe and takes up little to no contaminants as compared to public-water. It is fresh, natural, and more trustable.

Nevertheless, if you want to make sure your well water is safe and disease-free, you have to test your water quality for potential pollutants.
In this post, we will discuss some of these contaminants, their identification, and finally, their removal.

So without further due, let’s get right into it!

Contaminants of Well Water

As per the CDC, one of these 15 contaminants is commonly present in well water:


This element occurs naturally in rocks and soil. It causes nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea, skin irritation, peripheral neuropathy, and coma.


Copper also comes from the ground, but it can also leach from the pipes into the water.
It causes metallic taste, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, anemia, and circulatory shock.


It is a parasite commonly found everywhere in the world. The contamination of well by feces of infected humans and animals exposes its water to this parasite.
It causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, and dehydration.


Campylobacter is an intestinal bacteria.
It causes fever, headache, muscle pain, arthritis, and acute colitis.


This commonly known bacteria is the culprit behind many outbreaks each year worldwide. It causes Fever, Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary tract infections.
Moreover, in young children and elders, it can cause a severe form of kidney failure known as a hemolytic-uremic syndrome.


It is a group of intestinal bacteria responsible for 10-15 million illnesses per year. It makes its way into well water during storms or by fecal contamination of well.
It causes fever, runny nose, skin rashes, mouth blisters, and body and muscle aches.


Giardia is the second parasite on our list. It is one of the most common causes of diarrhea around the world.
It causes low-grade fever, malaise, abdominal distention, cramps, severe dehydrating diarrhea.

Hepatitis A

As the name suggests, this bacteria causes hepatitis, a commonly known disease throughout the world.
Its symptoms include fever, Jaundice (yellowing of the skin), abdominal pain, fatigue, dark urine, diarrhea, liver failure.


This element rarely occurs naturally in water. It usually gets into the well water from the pipes.
It causes headaches, irritability, difficulty in sleeping, poor appetite, anemia.

Additional complications in children include loss of developmental skills, hearing loss, kidney damage, and retarded growth.


It is a compound form of nitrogen with oxygen. High levels of nitrates in well water result from improper well-construction, location, and overuse of chemical fertilizers in the nearby area.
It causes breathing problems, tremors, low tolerance to exercise, frequent urination, diarrhea, and circulatory collapse.

In pregnant women, nitrates may cause infertility or abortions.


It is a group of viruses associated with intestinal illnesses such as gastroenteritis.
It causes a disease called ‘’stomach flu’’, characterized by fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and watery diarrhea.


Radon is a colorless radioactive gas. It is the breakdown product of uranium from soil and rocks and can dissolve into our water supply.
Unlike other contaminants, the effects of this gas show up years later as lung cancer.
The patient feels cough, persistent wheezing, blood in cough, chest pain, and gradual weight loss.


This virus is famous in medicine as the most common cause of diarrhea among infants and children.
It causes severe watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, dehydration, and collapse.


This bacteria causes a common disease known as typhoid.
Its symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever, prolong vomiting, and dehydration.


Shigella causes a contagious type of diarrhea.
It also causes fever, stomach pain, tenesmus (feeling the need to pass the stool even when the bowels are empty).

Testing Well Water for Contaminants

After having the basic idea of well water contaminants, the next step is to analyze our water for these impurities.
For testing your water, you can either use the services of a nearby water testing laboratories or buy a water testing kit.

Although both of these methods are effective, a water testing kit saves you from the trouble of taking water samples to testing labs and then waiting hours to days for results.
Moreover, water testing kits are cheap, provide great convenience, and are as accurate as any water testing lab.

Removing the Contaminants from Well Water

Ideally speaking, methods like boiling the water or chlorination do not work well for the private well owners.
On the other hand, a water filter of good quality and range is a better match.

Depending upon your choice, you can either go for a whole house water filter, an under-the-sink kitchen filter, or a faucet filter. We recommend buying a good quality whole house water filter, as it takes care of all the water coming into your house pipes.

However, if the water testing results don’t show substantial contamination, then it’s better to opt for under-the-sink kitchen filters or simple faucet filters.
All in all, owning a private well is much better than trusting municipal water. Municipal water travels for months through different routes. As a result, it contains multiple forms of minerals, toxic substances, microorganisms, and agricultural and industrial waste.

On the other hand, well water is fresh water right from the ground and has a limited amount of pollutants. With just a one time effort of installing a filter, you can make sure the water running through your tap is of optimum quality.
This, in the long run, makes your life disease-free, happy, and healthy!