There are many different treatment options for the treatment of well waters. No single treatment type will protect against all problems. Many well owners use a home water treatment unit to:
- Remove specific contaminants
- Take extra precautions because a household member has a compromised immune system
- Improve the taste of drinking water
Household water treatment systems are composed of two categories: point-of-use and point-of-entry. Point-of-entry systems are typically installed after the water meter and treat most of the water entering a residence. Point-of-use systems are systems that treat water in batches and deliver water to a tap, such as a kitchen or bathroom sink or an auxiliary faucet mounted next to a tap.
The most common types of household water treatment systems consist of:
- Filtration Systems
A water filter is a device which removes impurities from water by means of a physical barrier, chemical, and/or biological process.
- Water Softeners
A water softener is a device that reduces the hardness of the water. A water softener typically uses sodium or potassium ions to replace calcium and magnesium ions, the ions that create "hardness."
- Distillation Systems
Distillation is a process in which impure water is boiled and the steam is collected and condensed in a separate container, leaving many of the solid contaminants behind.
Disinfection is a physical or chemical process in which pathogenic microorganisms are deactivated or killed. Examples of chemical disinfectants are chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and ozone. Examples of physical disinfectants include ultraviolet light, electronic radiation, and heat.
In order to determine the best treatment option, contact a water well systems contractor.
For more information, visit one of the links below or contact your local health department or the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
- Well Water Information Based on Where You Live (United States Environmental Protection Agency)
- State Certified Drinking Water Laboratories (United States Environmental Protection Agency)
For more information on personal household water treatment options, visit:
- Drinking Water Treatment for Household Use (CDC)
- Selecting a Household Water Treatment System (NSF International)
- Water & Health Series: Filtration Facts [PDF - 7 pages] (EPA)
Wells that are not currently being used, but might be used in the future, must be continuously maintained like a working well.
Wells that are no longer in use must be retired. Old wells can cause liability issues for the landowner if the well is putting neighboring wells at risk through groundwater contamination. One of the biggest problems with old wells is that they can be forgotten and left to further deteriorate, causing a potential hazard. Wells that are no longer in use must be retired in order to:
- Protect ground water from surface contamination
- Protect vertical movement of water between aquifers
- Eliminate a potential safety hazard for humans and wildlife
Water wells need to be filled-in and sealed properly. Depending on the state, homeowners are required to notify their local Department of Environmental Protection or Water Quality Division to document the retirement of the well. Homeowners are urged to contact these agencies in order to learn the required procedures in their area. For more information on retiring/decommissioning a well, visit Wellowner.org’s Old/Unused Wells.
Wells can be difficult to retire, and usually only a well water systems contractor has the correct equipment. A well water systems contractor will be able to provide more information on plugging unused wells. and should also have knowledge of well decommissioning (retiring) code requirements. To locate a contractor, visit the link below or contact your local health department or the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.
- State Certified Drinking Water Laboratories (EPA)
- Finding a Contractor (National Ground Water Association)
- After a Disaster/Emergency - Treating a Well
- EPA - Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water
- EPA - What to Do After the Flood
- Ground Water Science (Non-governmental) - Field Evaluation of Emergency Well Disinfection for Contamination Events
- Minnesota Department of Health. Protect Our Water: Sealing Your Unused Well (video)
- Page last reviewed: March 11, 2015
- Page last updated: March 11, 2015
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