Sand is one of the most common well water contaminants, and there’s not a lot you can do about your groundwater’s natural sand content.
However, it is possible to get rid of the sand in your well water before it damages your home’s pipes and clogs up your well water filters.
In this guide, we’ve shared the most common causes of sand in a well water filter, and how to fix them.
📌 Key Takeaways
- Sand in a well water filter is caused by problems with the well construction, a newly-drilled well or well repairs, and an incorrectly placed or sized well pump.
- A small amount of sand in a sediment filter is normal, and shows that the filter is doing its job.
- You can prevent excess sand from clogging your well water filter by inspecting and fixing your well, and including an additional dedicated water filter for sand removal.
Table of Contents
🤔 Is Sandy Well Water Always A Problem?
It can be alarming to discover sand in your well water filter – but it might be normal.
Because wells are drilled into the ground, it’s quite common for well water to contain more sediment – including sand – than city water.
If you notice a small amount of sand in your water filter, it’s nothing to worry about.
📖 5 Causes of Sand in Well Water
Wondering why your well water contains sand in the first place? We’ve shared the 5 most likely causes below.
Poor Well Construction
The quality of your well’s construction affects its performance and durability. If your well is cased, cemented, or drilled incorrectly, the walls may crack or crumble, allowing sand to leak into the water.
After a well is drilled, it should be developed – a process that removes sand and debris. Incorrect well development may result in excess sand in the water.
An old or worn well shaft or well casing is also more likely to be prone to sand and debris contamination.
Finally, a leak in the well’s drop pipe may cause the well pump to switch on and off when it shouldn’t, resulting in excess sand being pulled into the well every time the pump restarts.
When a new well is drilled, the drilling process disturbs the rocks and soils surrounding the well, allowing sand and other sediment to enter the water supply. This issue should resolve itself within a few weeks.
Sometimes, a well repair may involve removing and replacing part of the well system. The well may become contaminated with sediment, sand, and debris during the fix.
Improper Well Pump Placement
If the submersible pump is too close to the bottom of the surrounding aquifer, it may draw sand into the system along with water. Ideally, the pump should be 10-20 feet above the bottom of the well.
Incorrectly Sized Well Pump
An oversized well pump may be too powerful for the well size, causing it to pump sand into the water supply.
🧰 How to Fix Sand in Well Water Filters
To prevent excess sand from clogging your well water filter, follow these steps:
Step 1: Test Your Water
To identify the type of sand you’re dealing with, get your water tested.
📌 A good laboratory water test will tell you the size of the sand particles, and how much sand your water contains, so you’re equipped to find the best solution for your problem.
Step 2: Inspect & Repair Your Well
If you think a problem with your well is causing too much sand, arrange for your well to be inspected by a professional well contractor.
A well contractor will examine your well water pump to see if it’s excessively pumping sand, and check your well screen and well casing for degradation and damage.
If a problem with your well is detected, the pump contractor will recommend the best method to resolve it.
Step 3: Install A Separate Sand Filter
The best way to prevent clogging up your well water filtration system with sand is to install a separate water filter that’s dedicated to sand removal.
Good ways to filter sand are:
Spin-Down Sediment Filter
A spin-down filter can remove sand, dirt, gravel, and other sediment suspended in water. These filters spin the water to separate the sediment, and spin down filter screens trap the separated impurities.
Spin down filters are a good option for a private well with sand and other sediment, but they need regular flushing, so they’re not ideal for treating high sand levels.
Centrifugal Sand Separator
A centrifugal sand separator is a similar, but more targeted, way to remove sand from water. Centrifugal sand separators use three forces to trap sand: centrifugal, inertial, and gravitational.
Water that enters the filter is spun quickly, allowing gravity to pull the sand particles down. The collected sand can be flushed out of the system using a ball valve. This may be a manual or automatic process.
When you install a centrifugal sand separator between your well and the pressure tank, it should remove up to 98% of sand from your drinking water supply.
Other Filters To Consider
There are a few other filtration methods that may clean sand out of your well water:
- Some sediment cartridge filters may be suitable for removing fine sand particles. Filters with a higher micron rating are best for this purpose (even very fine sand is about 60 microns).
- Some backwashing systems may also be suitable for reducing water sand. These filters are lower-maintenance because they send water back through the media bed to flush out the contaminants.
❔ Sand In A Well Water Filter: FAQ
What do you do if you have sand in your well water?
If you have sand in your well water, install a dedicated sand water filter to prevent this contaminant from getting into your plumbing system. Get your well professionally inspected to determine whether or not you need to amend or repair a problem.
Is sand in well water dangerous?
No, sand in well water is rarely harmful to health and is generally safe to ingest. However, the presence of excess sand in your water may indicate that there’s a flaw in the well’s design that’s allowing sand and other debris to enter your water supply. While sand itself isn’t dangerous, some of the other impurities could be.
Will sand ruin a well pump?
No, low or “normal” levels of sand shouldn’t ruin submersible pumps in a well. However, if your well screen is broken and high levels of sand are entering the pump, this could erode the pump’s impellers and reduce its efficiency.