In the United States, over 15 million households rely on well water for cooking, cleaning and drinking. The water that is found in wells has been filtered naturally through the ground, which is why it's called ground water. Ground water collects in cavern-like holes underground which are called aquifers. Usually, this water is clean and refreshing to drink. However, sometimes, things happen that can cause the water to be suddenly dirty. If your water comes from a well, it's a good idea to understand what could cause your water to be dirty so you can prevent it from happening.
Corroded or Broken Pipe
Your well has a pipe that runs from it to your house. If this pipe corrodes or breaks, it can cause dirt to get into your water supply. The first thing to do is to have your well water tested to see if the dirt is in the well or in the pipe in between the well and your house. That way, you'll be able to narrow down the cause of the problem. If the well water test results come back with good results, then hire a plumber to find the break in the pipe and replace it. As an alternative, hire a leak detection service to try to narrow down the exact location of the broken pipe, especially if there's a considerable distance between the well and your house.
Disruption to the Aquifer
Anytime there are disruptions to the aquifer there could be changes in the quality of the well water. Changes to the aquifer can occur for a number of reasons, including:
- new construction in the neighborhood, even if they aren't drilling wells
- local excavation that changes the way groundwater flows
- another well drilled into the same aquifer can cause sediment in the water
- natural shift in an underground stream
When these types of conditions cause changes to the water quality in your well, it's important to have the water tested as soon as possible. Do not consume the water or use it for cooking or bathing until you get the test results back, especially if you are aware of oil drilling and fracking nearby. It's important to note that you will likely be told about any oil drilling and/or fracking in your neighborhood or area. Oil drilling companies are supposed to notify homeowners who may be affected by oil drilling. A water well drilling company can test the water directly from the well.
Recent Flash Flood
A flash flood could cause the water to move through the ground at a rate too fast to allow for the natural filtration process. Also, the amount of water moving through the ground may cause increased hydrostatic pressure, which could cause your basement to flood and pull contaminants from your septic tank leach field into the groundwater. So, not only may your well contain sediment and dirt, but it can contain dangerous contaminants from your septic system.
Of course, this problem may be the least difficult to troubleshoot; however, don't limit this possibility if there was no flash flooding on your property. The same things can happen when there is heavy rainfall for an extended period of time, which leaves the ground saturated even though there is no obvious flooding. Most municipalities issue warnings to caution people against using water that may be contaminated or dirty due to a flash flood or heavy rainfall. But, don't rely solely on those public service announcements if your water is noticeably dirty.
It's better to test the water to see if it's safe and to determine what could be causing the problem. If your water tests unsafe, the test results may help you figure out which type of water treatment system you'll need to install to improve your home's water supply. Check out sites like http://www.valleypumpnw.com for more information.