Most well water problems can be remedied by filtration or other treatments, but as a private well owner, it's your job to stay on top of your well water's needs. If you don't regularly test your well water (or even have never had it tested), you may be unaware of problems that could cause health issues later on. Some of these problems can occur even if your well isn't contaminated by outside sources. Here are four substances that can occur naturally in the ground and may affect your health and that of your family if not treated.
Arsenic is actually a mineral, but that doesn't mean you want it in your water. It leaches into the water from surrounding soil or bedrock (as well as from agricultural and other pollution), and sometimes it does so at very small concentrations. However, the "safe" amount of arsenic is also very small, so you may need a treatment system even if you only have a tiny bit of arsenic in your water.
Lead has received a lot of attention due to its historical inclusion in paint and other manufactured products, but it can also occur in groundwater. Like arsenic, it's toxic and carcinogenic and can enter groundwater naturally or through industrial activities. But unlike arsenic, it's actually more likely to enter your water through the delivery system (leaching out of lead pipes or well parts that contain lead). So if your water testing discovers lead, you may need a treatment system or you may just need to replace some pipes.
Nitrate (and the related nitrite) can occur naturally or can enter the groundwater through the soil after being created in man-made processes. If both occur at once (man-made nitrate contaminating the soil in an area that already has nitrate naturally), you're even more likely to develop health problems from the substance. According to the CDC, nitrate can make your blood less able to handle oxygen, one of its most vital functions.
The most likely place to discover too much salt naturally occurring in your water is near the ocean. If you live very near the ocean, you may have a well that naturally contains a small amount of salt. If the amount of salt in your well fluctuates much, it may occasionally become too salty to safely drink. (As you can imagine, drinking salty water dehydrates you instead of hydrates you.) This is especially likely to happen during a drought when your well has a lower water level than usual (or any time you're overusing the well), which encourages seawater to fill in the void. These four contaminants can all occur naturally or enter your well water from other sources, and they can all affect your health. If you discover one of them in your well during annual well testing, you'll probably need to invest in a treatment system right away.
For more information, contact Water Tec or a similar company.