Is Well Water Good For You? (The Benefits Explained)

You probably know the basics about well water: that it typically comes from an underground aquifer and isn’t treated by local authorities like city water. But do you know whether well water has any health properties – and if so, what they are?

In this guide, we’ll be helping you decide whether or not well water is good for you by highlighting the potential health benefits, possible contaminants, and parameters of a typical well water supply.

Well water is good for you because it tends to be richer in healthy minerals than municipal water, but it can sometimes contain high levels of contaminants that may pose risk of health effects. The quickest and easiest way to know whether your well water is good for you is to get it tested.

✅ Potential Health Benefits of Drinking Well Water

Let’s start with the positives. All the benefits of drinking well water are listed below.

Source of Healthy Minerals

Perhaps the biggest potential health benefit of well water is that it typically has a high mineral content. Minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and manganese are all commonly found in well water. Drinking water with a high mineral content will supply your body with the minerals it needs for proper functioning. (You can also get these minerals from your foods, however, so they’re not essential in water.)

healthy minerals found in water

Encourages Hydration

Due to well water’s high mineral content and the fact that it contains no chlorine, drinking water from a well is often tastier than city water. You should be more inclined to drink water that you enjoy the taste of, meaning you’ll stay hydrated and enjoy all the health benefits that well water has to offer, to the full.

Note: there are plenty more benefits of drinking water in general, such as potential weight loss, skin health benefits, enhanced brain function, and other benefits associated with good hydration. However, for this guide, we’ve focused on the health benefits of well water only.

🤔 Is Drinking Well Water Good For You?

Drinking well water has the potential to be good for you. The health properties of well water just depends on what your water contains.

Well water is typically moderately hard to very hard. Hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium are good for our health (even if they’re not good for our plumbing!). Well water often also contains iron and manganese; two other essential minerals. However, too much iron and manganese may have adverse health effects.

Additionally, some well water impurities are bad for you. Heavy metals like arsenic and lead, agricultural toxicants like pesticides and herbicides, and chemicals like nitrates are commonly found in well water, and can cause health problems if consumed even at low levels. Ground water supplying private wells may even become contaminated by bacteria, which causes gastrointestinal illness when consumed.

Drinking water

🚿 Is Showering in Well Water Good For You?

Again, there are both health benefits and not-so-health benefits associated with showering in well water.

On the plus side, well water doesn’t contain chlorine (a chemical commonly used to disinfect a municipal water supply). Chlorine is known to be a skin irritant, and can cause itchiness and sensitivity even in trace amounts.

On the other hand, well water tends to contain a large number of hardness minerals – namely calcium and magnesium – which are known to form soap scum on skin and hair, resulting in dryness, itchiness, rashes, dandruff, split ends, and inflammatory skin issues like eczema.

So, showering in well water isn’t exactly good for you, especially if you have sensitive skin – but it won’t do any major harm, either.

🧫 Possible Contaminants in Water

Although well water’s mineral content typically makes it healthier than municipal water, there’s no guarantee that your well water will be 100% good for your health. Several factors can affect the quality of well water, including runoff from agricultural or industrial sites, nuclear power plants, septic leakage, or even a dead animal falling into your source water.

There are a number of contaminants commonly found in well water that are known to be bad for you, including:

  • Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, selenium, and chromium – these typically enter well water through surface runoff, old well components, and water seepage, and may cause cancer, kidney and liver damage, and neuronal damage if consumed in excess.
  • Chemicals like nitrate – these cause weakness, dizziness, fatigue, and excess heart rate when consumed in well water.
  • Agricultural pesticides and herbicides – these get into a private well through surface runoff and cause cancer, birth defects, and respiratory problems when consumed at high levels.
  • Microorganisms like bacteria – these get into surface water or groundwater from leaking septic tanks or runoff from livestock farms. Bacteria ingestion leads to sickness, diarrhea, a high temperature, and stomach cramps.
Dangerous impurities in well water

🔎 How to Find Out if Well Water is Good for You

It’s often impossible to tell by taste, smell, or sight alone whether your well water is safe to drink – and whether it’s good or bad for your health.

The best way to find out whether or not your well water is good for you is to get your water tested. Send a drinking water sample to a certified laboratory and assess your results to determine the quality of your water.

A good laboratory test won’t only tell you what your water contains, but also whether any of these contaminants exceeds EPA quality guidelines. While the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t regulate well water, you can still use the EPA’s guidelines to determine whether your water contains anything deemed unsafe by national standards.

If testing reveals no problem contaminants, great – your well water is good for you. If, however, you discover that your well water is bad for you based on its contaminant content, you can use a water filter or another water treatment system to make your water healthier to drink.

water testing with tap score

📖 How to Improve the Health Properties of Well Water

To make your well water better for your health, you might need to tweak its composition. The best way to improve your well water’s health properties are listed below:

Install a Whole House Water Filter

A whole house water filter can remove the contaminants that are potentially dangerous to drink in well water, like harsh chemicals, volatile organic compounds, nitrate, and metals.

The benefit of a whole house water filtration system is that it’ll filter your entire supply of water, including the water you drink and shower in. So, the water vapor you breathe in will be just as safe as the water you ingest.

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Consider a Point of Use Filter

If your budget can’t stretch as far as a whole house water filtration system, consider a point of use filter, like an under-sink water filter or a countertop filtration system.

Pont of use water treatment systems are designed to improve your drinking water quality by removing contaminants like chemicals and heavy metals. They’re more affordable than whole house filters because they only protect your tap water; not your entire home.

point of use countertop water filters

Use a Water Purifier

To keep your well water safe from microbiological contamination, install a water purification system. Water purifiers are different from water filtration systems – they’re designed to target pathogens and germs, not physical contaminants like heavy metals and chemicals.

UV purifiers are a popular water purification solution for well water. The UV purification process deactivated protozoans, cysts, bacteria and viruses by scrambling their DNA. This method of water treatment takes place upstream of your water heater, providing microorganism-free tap water throughout your home.

Uv purification system

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Install a Water Softener

Finally, if you want to improve the quality of your showers, you need a water softener. Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium minerals, replacing them with sodium ions.

Getting rid of water hardness eliminates issues related to showering in hard water, such as itchy skin and dry hair. A water softener will also protect your pipes and plumbing from limescale.

springwell salt-based water softener system

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🧠 Is Well Water Good For Your Health? FAQs

Why is well water not good for you?

There are several reasons why well water might not be good for you: if your well has been contaminated by septic systems and contains harmful bacteria; if your well water contains organic chemicals or heavy metals from surface runoff; or if your water contains high levels of iron, hydrogen sulfide gas, and other common minerals. Getting your water regularly tested will help you to detect these contaminants and provide a suitable water treatment solution to improve your water quality if needed.

Is well water better for you to drink?

In many cases, well water is better to drink than your city’s water supply. This is because ground water in wells tends to have a higher mineral content than city water, and doesn’t contain chlorine or disinfection byproducts like city water. However, well water can often contain high levels of heavy metals, chemicals, and pathogens because it isn’t regulated by the EPA or treated by local water suppliers. The quality of your well water determines whether or not it’s better to drink than city water.

How does well water affect your health?

Different contaminants in well water may have different health effects. For instance, heavy metals may cause cancer, damage to the liver and kidneys, and anemia if consumed. Microorganisms like bacteria cause gastrointestinal disease, and chemicals like nitrates can cause weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. Low-to-moderate levels of some well water impurities have positive effects on your health, like calcium, magnesium, and iron minerals.

Is well water clean enough to drink?

Often, yes, well water is clean enough to drink. However, well water isn’t treated like city water, so there’s a risk that it could contain dangerously high levels of impurities. It’s recommended that you get your well supply tested before you use it for drinking water, and conduct annual tests for contaminants like bacteria and nitrate.

Is well water good for your skin?

Well water is relatively good for your skin. It doesn’t contain chlorine or other disinfection chemicals, but it’s often high in hardness minerals, which are known to cause skin irritation and dryness. If you think your well water is damaging your skin, test your water hardness and install a water softener if high hardness minerals are the issue.