The Risks Involved When Using Untreated Well Water

A person’s health plus well-being and that of her family depend a lot on the quality of drinking water. Well water, for instance, should be maintained at safe levels based on local health standards. The issues that rise about untreated well water come from several factors that can result to its contamination. Since this is a stale water source, not directly exposed to sunlight, there are risks of using it in the household that everyone should be aware of. For well water to remain safe at all times, it should be tested or treated on a regular basis.


When people notice that their well is emanating some kind of odor, this can show an underlying water contamination problem. When sulfur bacteria is present in well water, it produces a gas that smells like spoiled egg due to decaying organic matter in the well water or near it. Though the odor does not have an effect on well water sanitation, specialists say that no one can assume that the smell comes from sulfur bacteria. Well water odors may also be caused by gas/oil storage tank leakage, sewage contamination or soil pollution.

Taste and Discoloration

Well water that is not treated can bring about water discoloration, which suggests a number of problems. Both iron and manganese can change water color, as well as give it a bitter taste. When present in the well water, they cause scale to build up in the water, while high sodium levels give a salty taste to it.

Metal Contamination

Metal contamination can result from a low pH of water, which in turn causes corrosion of pipes, which increases the number of dissolved lead and iron in water. The discoloration of water can also be brought about by a pH imbalance in the water or by clay, mineral or soil deposits and rust.

Microorganism Contamination

Well water that is not treated could become a breeding place for gastrointestinal disease-causing microorganisms. Specialists inform us that the common waterborne microbiological contaminants affecting the quality of untreated well water are: bacteria like coliform bacteria, which includes Escherichia coli, viruses like hepatitis A, parasitic protozoa like cryptosporidium and giardia lamblia plus parasitic worms, like helminths. Such microorganisms cause humans and pets to become sick.


Arsenic contamination is a major problem linked with untreated well water. As per the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, arsenic is found in soils and rocks. Wells are found underground and for this reason, arsenic can seep into their water. In Maine State, it is quite common for well water to be tested for arsenic, since there are high levels of arsenic across the state. Arsenic contamination can bring about health issues such as diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and problems in the circulatory and nervous system.