What Causes Contamination of Well Water?

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What Causes Contamination of Well Water?

Many homes and businesses rely on city water. However, rural areas and some neighborhoods outside city limits use well water for all their drinking, cooking, and washing needs. Well water comes from a private well on a property. It’s useful great water source; however, it does pose some risks of contaminants. If you rely on well water and have concerns about water contaminants, read on as we discuss what causes contamination of well water.


In today’s world, avoiding chemicals may seem impossible. Even natural sources such as well water face risks from toxins that go into the ground. Let’s look at some different chemicals and how they can affect well water.


Nitrates come from chemical fertilizers and sewage. Once in the body, they become nitrites and can lead to severe health problems, especially in infants. When high levels of nitrites enter a baby’s bloodstream, they slow the carrying of oxygen in the bloodstream, which can lead to methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome). Signs of this serious syndrome include shortness of breath and blue skin. If not caught and properly assessed, it can lead to death.

Organic Chemicals

We can find organic chemicals in many everyday items. They get into well water through surface water runoff and waste disposal. Here’s a list of some organic chemicals you may have right in your own home:

  • Disinfectants
  • Sealants
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paint
  • Petroleum products

Ingesting too much of these chemicals can lead to kidney damage, liver damage, and problems with the circulatory and nervous systems.


Microorganisms make their home in well water when rain and snow wash them into the ground. These organisms can carry bacteria and viruses. If you drink too much of them, your body may react with gastrointestinal issues and infections.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals can leach into well water through pipes that may flow from the following areas:

  • Houses
  • Mining operations
  • Refineries
  • Electronics manufacturers
  • Waste disposal
  • Natural mineral deposits

Anywhere there are pipelines, there’s a risk of heavy metals in the water. High levels can cause intestinal, kidney, and liver damage and may lead to anemia or cancer.


Many cities purposely add fluoride to their water supplies to prevent tooth decay. Although it does keep teeth strong, studies show that fluoride might also lead to skeletal fluorosis, a syndrome that causes bone pain. Well water isn’t safe from fluoride, since runoff water can cause the fluoride to enter the well.

There’s no need to be afraid of well water. Every system has its pros and cons, and understanding the causes of contamination in well water empowers you to do something about it. At Alamo Water Softeners, we offer water softener filtration systems for the San Antonio, Texas, area. Our systems will provide your family with clean, soft water and optimal water pressure. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a water treatment expert.