Common Well Water Problems

10 Common Well Water Issues: Solutions (A Complete Guide)

This is a straightforward general reference guide to spotting some typical water issues. Although some of these issues can also be encountered in municipal water supplies, many of them are more frequent in applications involving well water or surface water.

Please be aware that the following details are meant to be used as a broad reference to aid in determining the root of a water issue. In the end, a thorough water analysis conducted by a recognized testing laboratory may be necessary to correctly pinpoint and validate the source of a water-related issue.

First issue: The water has an egg-like odor:

Cause: Gaseous hydrogen sulfide may be present in water (H2S). Water that comes into contact with biological debris or certain minerals, such as pyrite, can cause problems.

Typical Treatment: The elimination of hydrogen sulfide often involves chemical oxidation by ozone, chlorination, aeration, or manganese greens and filtration.

Problem 2: Testing reveals that hydrogen sulfide is not to blame for the water’s rotten egg odor (H2S):

Cause: Variations in water quality are common. Because of this, tests for hydrogen sulfide may come back negative, but the substance still may be responsible for the issue.

H2S may have varying quantities or concentrations from day to day depending on the barometric pressure since it is a gas. In the end, if you are convinced that the problem is not hydrogen sulfide, there is a good possibility that the magnesium anode rod in your hot water heater is to blame.

A spoilt smell could result from a reaction between this electrolytic rod and your water. Replacement of the anode rod with a rod composed of a different material, such as aluminum, is a common treatment.

Problem 3: When using soft water, it is challenging to rinse the soap off since the skin feels slippery.


Cause: Hard water contains more calcium and magnesium ions than soft water does. On your skin, these hard water ions combine with the detergent to form an insoluble soap-curd film, commonly known as slop build.

This coating produces a barrier when you wash or take a bath, which causes your skin and hair to “squeak,” giving the expression “perfectly clean” its name. Soft water does not produce this soap curd or film because it has a lower concentration of calcium and magnesium ions.

Therefore, there is no layer of soap film building up on your skin when you wash or take a bath with soft water, and as a result, there is little resistance and merely smooth, soft skin. The lack of soap residue causes the surface to feel slippery rather than the soap residue itself.

Treatment: Water that leaves a coating of detergent does not need to be treated; however, water that feels “watery” can be softened with a water softener to reduce calcium and magnesium levels, hence reducing the hardness of ions.

Fourth issue: brown stains on porcelain fixtures.

High levels of iron in the water may be the cause of brown stains on fixtures. An underground well that draws water is the most likely source.

Frequently Used Therapies: Iron can be removed from water using ion exchange water softeners, water softener combos, or precipitation by chlorination with potassium iodide.

Issue five: Water that appears cloudy is issue number five.

Water with a milky or cloudy appearance is frequently caused by minute air bubbles. They rise to the surface and disappear into the air, as is typical of bubbles, erasing the milky or foggy appearance.

The issue is typically brought on by too much air in the water. This most frequently happens after changing drinking water filters or when the primary water source is altered or disrupted (where the line enters the home).

Common Treatment: As the excess air is expelled, the issue will typically resolve itself in a short amount of time.

Sixth issue: Black stains and pitting in stainless steel flatware and sinks:

Cause: A very high chloride (CL-) content in the water supply may be to blame for the black discoloration. High drying temperatures in a dishwasher can hasten corrosion-causing pitting in stainless steel kitchenware when chloride concentrations are high.

Reverse osmosis or distillation are common treatments.

Seventh Issue: There are green stains on porcelain sinks and bathtubs, and/or the water is blue-green in color:

Green stains typically result from a high concentration of carbon dioxide (pH 6.8) in the water reacting with brass and/or copper pipes.

Common Treatment: A calcite filter, a calcite/cortex mixed media filter, or injecting soda ash into the water using an injector feed pump can all be used to change the pH.

The eighth issue is that water is yellow (the color of tea):

Cause: Tannins can be found in water; they are found in non-toxic organic materials like peat and leaves. Typically, surface water supplies like lakes and streams experience this issue.

Typical Treatment: Tannins can be eliminated using chlorine or by selective macroporous Type 1 anion resin medium adsorption.

9th issue: The municipal water tastes like fish.

Cause: A chloramine residue (chlorine and ammonia) in the water supply is frequently to blame.

Typical Treatment: carbon catalyst

Issue 10: Clusters of thyroid issues, stomach cancer, and blue baby syndrome


Cause: There may be too many nitrates (NO3-) in the drinking water, which would explain these symptoms. Nitrates can result in the potentially fatal “blue baby” syndrome or methemoglobinemia in newborns.

The bacteria in the infant’s bowel are unable to convert nitrates to nitrites and produce nitrites as a result.

Although they do not react in the same manner as infants, adults can nevertheless acquire thyroid issues in the same circumstances.

Stomach cancer can develop in areas where the levels are higher than 100 mg/liter. High nitrate levels are typically caused by sewage pollution, agricultural feed lots and corrals, fertilized fields, industrial waste, and inadequately sealed wells.

Reverse osmosis and ion exchange with the anion resin are frequent treatments. NOTE: Nitrate levels will rise when the water is heated to a boil.

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