Well Water Quality || Problems and Solutions



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Home > Water Quality

All water sources contain more than just pure water

Minerals, chemicals, and microbes are present in every water supply. Some are completely harmless and maybe even helpful, others can be quite unhealthy.

Common issues which we encounter in well water are listed below and be sure to check out the new arsenic page. Need help with your water? Fill in this form



Treatment Options

Ideal levels

Iron (Fe) & Manganese (Mn)

The staining minerals

•Leaves rust stains on fixtures and laundry, can turn water orange, metallic taste, no known health concerns

•Combined with iron, manganese makes brown stains, without iron-black stains.

•Some experience a dry sensation while drinking manganese-rich water. Some health studies have suggested health concerns with elevated levels (>1 mg/L).

Oxidation/Filtration, Ion Exchange (softening), Sequestration

Fe less than 0.3 mg/L

Mn less than 0.05 mg/L

Hardness (Ca, Mg) - scale & soap scum

Calcium and Magnesium in water defeat cleaning abilities of soaps and contribute to scale in plumbing and heating systems. Iron and manganese contribute to hardness in a lesser amount.

• Ion Exchange

• Membrane approaches exist

less than 75 mg/L (approx 4 grains per gallon), though even small amounts of hardness are noticable when compared to bathing in softened water

Sodium Chloride - common salt (NaCl)

also Calcium Chloride

Salty taste in water, can aggravate sodium-sensitive individuals. In addition, salt-contaminated water can be very corrosive-especially to steel and cast iron. Can be naturally occuring, seawater intrusion, road salt pollution or from other sources.

Reverse osmosis, distillation

EPA has a 250 mg/L limit, however we have observed corrosion effects at just over 100 mg/L

Chlorides should be less than 250 mg/L, Calcium problems are determined by hardness levels

Corrosion of copper due to low pH - also a concern for lead poisoning

•Typically bluish-green stains are left on fixtures

• thin pipes

• upset stomach.

Please note that elevated lead levels are often associated with copper corrosion.

Calcite contactor, injection of ph correcting chemicals, reverse osmosis or distillation for drinking water, lead-specific cartridge filtration

Copper should be less than 1 mg/L

pH should be between 6.5 and 8.5 units


Gastrointestinal problems . Often discovered during routine water testing.

Chlorination (one-time or permanent), Ultraviolet Disinfection, consideration of well construction, distillation

No harmful bacteria. Should be tested regularly. 


Long term exposure can lead to lung cancer. It's hazard is thought to be associated with inhalation of radon gas and its byproducts; water serves as a vehicle to get radon to the human body and dwellings.

Aeration, carbon

A highly debated topic. Varies dramatically from state to state. We anticipate that the EPA will eventually adopt and enforce a fair limit.

Solvent and fuel pollution

Cancer and other illnesses

Aeration, carbon, or ideally source replacement

Too complex to list here, go to our extended list of contaminants

Nitrates, nitrites

Can cause death or illness in infants. Soils which are rich often contain high nitrates from both natural and synthetic fertilizers. This can also be an indicator of sewage waste. In some parts of the United States, levels have been elevated by agricultural practices.

Reverse osmosis, ion exchange, distillation, well repair or replacement

Under 10 ppm for adults. Please refer to the EPA SITE

Silt & sediment

Sand and other mineral debris can clog plumbing fixtures, washing machines, etc. Excessive sand and silt can ruin well pumps.

Some sediment is actually precipitated scale from hard water and will come out of the hot water heater. Lime scale feels like chalk or seashells.

Cartridge filtration, strainers, inspection of well construction, softening

Ideally, none.

Odors/flavors in well water

The sources of odors and flavor in water can be complex. Hydrogen sulfide has a rotten-egg scent. Other odors may indicate pollution or high organic contents in your water. If in doubt, do not drink water with a strange odor or taste-test it.

Too many to list-contaminant specific


561 First NH Tpke || Northwood NH 03261
(603) 942-5671
Licensed || Insured || Qualified || Established 1989