How to Purify Well Water for Drinking

How to Purify Well Water for Drinking
If you’re one of the over 43 million people in the United States that relies on a private well for your drinking water, you probably know that you’re on your own when it comes to assessing the safety and quality of your water. You may well wonder if your well water is safe to drink.

The fact is, the odds are high that there are some issues with your well water. You may already have noticed a funny taste or smell, or stains or your laundry or fixtures. If you want to figure out what exactly is going on with your well water, it’s important you take the steps to identify your specific issues to choose the most effective treatment to make your water clean and healthy.

How do I know if my well water is safe?

Many common water issues leave telltale signs. Limescale on your faucets, stains in your sink, a pungent odor or off-putting taste - if you are familiar with any of these symptoms, it’s solid evidence of contaminants in your water. But some serious issues don’t leave an obvious trace, such as lead, or bacteria in your water. The only way to know for sure exactly what is in your water is to test it. Your results should guide you on the next steps to better water.

Expert Water Analysis with Tier1 Rapid Water Lab Test Analysis

Can you get sick if well water isn’t treated?

Even if your water has contaminants, it won’t necessarily make you ill.

There are well water issues that are considered nuisances, rather than a health concern. The most common problem - hard water - can leave scaling and mineral buildup on your fixtures, but there’s no evidence it can affect your health. On the other hand, waterborne diseases will make you sick, and lead in your water isn’t safe at any level. Your water may look, smell, and taste fine and could still be contaminated with either. The effects of the contaminants in your water will depend on what exactly you’re dealing with, and at what concentration in your water.

Solving for contaminated well water

The water treatment you choose should be designed to address all of your needs. Some water filtration systems can treat multiple issues. The most effective treatment for some contaminants varies depending on the level of it in your water, or if there are also other contaminants present.

The following are common well water issues and recommended treatments.

1. Sediment Filtration treats turbidity and particulates

If your tap water seems cloudy, or has particles that settle to the bottom of your glass, you may need to install a sediment pre-filter at the point of entry of water to your home. Sediment filters trap suspended matter like sand, dirt, rust, loose scale, pipe corrosion, clay, and other organic materials. Note: If you are on well water, do not use cellulose filters as bacteria may treat them as a food source. Use polypropylene filters instead.

Sediment Cartridge Filters

Read more about Sediment Filtration

2. Water softeners treat hard water

Hard water contains high amounts of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Hard water can leave scale on your appliances, build up mineral deposits in plumbing, make laundry feel stiff and rough, and leave your skin and hair dull and lifeless.

A traditional salt-based water softener is recommended for well water. Successful treatment will depend on both the level of hardness, and if there are other contaminants present in the water such as iron.

Tier1 Water Softeners

Read more about hard water

3. Iron reduction filter, Elite Softener, or Air Induction Oxidation system treats Iron and Manganese

Red or brown stains from iron are visible at levels as low as 0.3 parts per million. Iron may give your water a metallic taste, and can turn tea, coffee and potatoes black. Black stains may also be a sign of Manganese. Both are often present in well water.

In order to effectively treat the issue, you’ll need to verify both the type and level of the contaminant in your water with a water test. Treatment options range from replaceable cartridge filters, to whole house softeners or backwashing filters.

Expert Water Analysis with Tier1 Rapid Water Lab Test Analysis

If your iron level is below 3 parts per million (ppm), you could install an iron and manganese filter cartridge at the point of entry to your home.

Iron and Manganese Reduction Water Cartridge Kit


If you have BOTH iron that is below 4 ppm AND hard water, you could invest in a Tier1 Whole House Hardness, Iron and Manganese system.

Hardness, Iron and Manganese Reduction System


If you DO NOT have hard water, and your iron level is above 4 ppm, your best option would be the Tier1 Whole House Iron, Manganese and Hydrogen Sulfide Air Induction Oxidation Filter System.

Iron, Manganese and Hydrogen Sulfide AIO System


If you have hard water AND iron above 4 ppm, your best option would be to install both a traditional salt-based softener and the Iron, Manganese and Hydrogen Sulfide AIO System.

Tier1 Water Softeners

Iron, Manganese and Hydrogen Sulfide AIO System

Read more about iron in your water

4. Iron, Manganese and Hydrogen Sulfide AIO System treats sulfur, iron, manganese

If your water smells of rotten eggs, it’s a sign of the presence of hydrogen sulfide or sulfur bacteria in your water. You’ll need to identify whether the source is the water supply or your plumbing, so you treat the actual cause of the issue. Treatments may range from flushing your drains, to replaceable cartridge filters, or whole home filtration system.

Iron, Manganese and Hydrogen Sulfide AIO System

Read more about sulfur in your water

5. Neutralizing filter treats acidic water and its effects

A pH of 7 is considered “neutral”. A pH level of 6.5 - 8.5 is considered acceptable for drinking water. Low pH (acidic) water can corrode pipes, resulting in metals entering your water supply. It is also very hard on your body’s digestive system, which can cause health issues. To raise the pH of acidic water, install a whole house water neutralizing system.

Tier1 Whole House Water Neutralizing System

6. Reverse Osmosis System treats arsenic, nitrates, nitrites, sulfates, copper, lead, TDS

When your water test shows a high result for arsenic, nitrates or nitrites, sulfates, copper, lead, or Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), the most common solution is to treat it right at the tap, with an undersink Reverse Osmosis System.

Reverse Osmosis System

As noted earlier, the presence of metals such as copper in your water may also be a sign of corrosion to your plumbing from acidic water, so be sure to check if your pH is low, to see if you need to install a water neutralizing system.

7. Whole house Carbon/KDF treats metals, herbicides, pesticides, VOCs

While you’re not likely to have an issue with chlorine in your well water like city water often does, the same treatment solution is the best option for more common well issues - a whole house Carbon and KDF filtration system. This treatment will reduce heavy metals like lead and mercury, as well as organic chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, and Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs).

Whole House Carbon and KDF Water Purification System

Read more about VOCs, pesticides and herbicides

8. Ultraviolet Disinfection treats bacteria and microorganisms

If you’re worried about your water making you sick, pay attention if you see Total Coliform on your water test. Because it’s impossible to test for all organisms, the detection of Total Coliform serves as indicator bacteria for how sanitary your water system is. If it shows up in your water sample, surface contamination has somehow entered the water, and you’re at risk for disease-causing organisms.

For the most effective, year-round protection, install a water filtration system with Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection to deactivate the bacteria right as it enters your home.

UV Disinfection

Read more about Microorganisms

Treat your well water right to get your best water

When you get your water from a private well, you’re responsible for making it safe and healthy for your family. Use the results from a water test to guide you in choosing the most effective water filtration solution to make your water the best it can be.