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6 Signs Your Well Water Is Making You Sick (DO This Now!)

Signs Your Well Water Is Making You Sick

EPA doesn’t regulate private wells, unlike public water supply, so take note of these 5-6 common symptoms of drinking contaminated well water: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain/ cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and headache

To solve these problems, contact a professional well contractor to inspect your well and disinfect it with a chlorine solution to reduce the chances of waterborne disease.

Continue reading for more tell-tale signs that your well water makes you sick and how to address them properly.

🤔How Can I Tell If My Well Water Is Making Me Sick?

Ways to tell if your Well Water is making you sick

The simplest way to tell if well water is making you sick is symptoms like:

  • Diarrhea – It is a condition where an infected person has abnormally loose or watery stool. It can indicate E. coli contamination in your well water.
  • Nausea – Nausea is an urge to vomit. This feeling happens just before vomiting, resulting in forced ejection of stomach content. Nausea is accompanied by abdominal cramps from harmful bacteria like E.coli or other pathogens from animal waste contaminated in well water.
  • Abdominal Cramps – Abdominal/ stomach cramps are the type of pain inside your abdomen, which may range from mild to temporary to severe. Cramps/ stomach pain can be the result of consuming pathogen-contaminated well water.
  • Fever – Fever is the elevated body temperature that results from the pyrogen or pathogen-contaminated well water which may come from agricultural runoff, polluted stormwater runoff, etc. Elevated body temperature is the body’s response to fighting off the infection.
  • Fatigue – Fatigue is the feeling of tiredness, exhaustion, lethargy, or lack of energy. This happens when your immune system fights with bacteria to expel them from the body.
  • Flu-like symptoms – These symptoms include headache, fever, chills, upset stomach, loss of appetite, and body aches. These symptoms occur for three to four days after consuming contaminated water.
Also Read: Is Well Water Safe For Dogs?


Infants and senior or older adults are at the highest health risk from contaminated well water. But these symptoms are common in many illnesses; therefore, taking extra precautions by performing water testing from tapscore to double-sure is best.

🛠️How To Fix Contaminated Well Water?

Ways to Fix Contaminated Water

The most common and effective way to address the contaminated well water is chlorination.

This removes disease-causing coliform bacteria and nuisance-causing iron and sulfur bacteria from your water supply very effectively.

In this process, approximately 20 liters of regular household bleach is poured into the dirty water to disinfect the well and produce clean water just like city-treated water.

Here’s how to fix other aesthetic issues in well water:

  • Cloudy water (and other hard water symptoms) – cloudy discoloration of well water or hard water minerals (above 7 GPG or 120 mg/l) can be treated by installing a water treatment system like water softener at the point of supply water entry. Through ion exchange, water softener removes hardness minerals (calcium and magnesium), and all its troubling effects like dry skin or skin irritation and hair damage, gastrointestinal issues, etc.
  • Yellowish water and metallic taste happen because of elevated levels of iron and tannins in water. These contaminants make the well water yellow, which tastes metallic. Therefore, introducing iron and tannin filters can help reduce these nuisance-causing contaminants.
  • Rotten egg smell – High sulfur contamination in tap water makes a foul odor that smells like rotten eggs which may be caused by chemical reactions in the soil and rock around the well. Like other bacteria, sulfur bacteria can also be eliminated using the shock chlorination method

💡Signs Your Well Water Is Making You Sick: FAQs

What are the most common contaminants in well water?

The most common water contaminants in well water are:

1. Microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, parasites
2. Toxic metals like Iron and sulfur
3. High levels of Nitrate and Nitride
4. Heavy metals like arsenic, antimony, cadmium
5. Organic chemicals
6. Radionuclides or toxic chemicals

Can well water cause cancer?

Yes, the presence of potential contaminants like radionuclides in well water sources is dangerous for human health and can cause cancer.

These contaminants can be introduced into wells from nuclear facilities through groundwater flow, waste water seepage, etc, causing kidney toxicity and increasing the risk of cancer.

So you can use water filters like reverse osmosis and nanofiltration filters to effectively remove radionuclides from your well water.

When should I be worried about well water?

If your well water looks cloudy or murky, then your well water is rich in silt, rust, dirt, or clay salts.

Also, suppose water has an oily film, sulfur smell(rotten egg smell), or metallic taste.

In that case, you should be worried about your poor water quality and install filters to tackle the specific contaminant.

What is the most common bacteria found in well water?

The most common bacteria found in a well-water system is coliform bacteria.

These bacteria cause diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, nausea, headaches, fever, fatigue, etc. And can be easily treated with shock chlorination treatment.

But if you’re facing recurrent bacteria problems, do check if your or your neighbourhood’s septic systems are leaky and fix it with the help of a professional.

How often should you test a water well?

You should test your water every year for bacteria and every 3-5 years for contaminants like lead, nitrate, nitride, arsenic, iron, and manganese to keep your well water up to the safety mark for everyone (including seniors and infants).

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