More than 43 million people or around 13 percent of the country’s population relies on private wells for their water supply. Water from a private well can contain contaminants that can make people and animals sick.

If you have a private well, you are responsible for ensuring its water is safe to drink. Have a well water contractor maintain your well annually. Regular maintenance will prevent issues before they occur.

During an annual inspection, your contractor will test the pump and other parts to see if they are functioning properly. They will clean the different components of your well.

Well water can contain nitrates/nitrites, coliform bacteria and other contaminants of local concern such as arsenic and radon. Have your well water tested regularly for nitrates, total dissolved solids, coliform bacteria, pH, sodium, chlorine, manganese, sulphate, sodium, iron, fluoride and chloride.

Some warning signs your well water is contaminated are a metallic taste or reddish/brown discoloration, foul smell and saltwater intrusion (your water tastes salty).

If you are noticing these signs, hire a well water treatment service in Sonoma County to decontaminate your water. In addition to disinfecting and decontaminating your well, your contractor will teach you how to prevent contamination.

How Does Well Water Get Contaminated?

There are numerous ways well water can get contaminated. If you live near an industrial or agricultural site, effluents and runoff from them can get into your well contaminating your water supply.

Many people store or mix pesticides, insecticides, fuels, degreasers, near their private wells. This could prove to be a costly mistake. If flooding occurs, harmful chemicals can seep into the ground and eventually end up in your water.

Pollution can also occur from wastes and effluents from on-site sanitation systems, wastewater treatment plants and leaking sewers.

Illnesses and Diseases Caused by Contaminated Water Diarrhea

Diarrhea is one of the most common conditions caused by contaminated water. Diarrhea can cause dehydration. Unaddressed dehydration can be life-threatening (particularly in kids, older adults and individuals who are immunocompromised).

Some common signs of diarrhea are watery stool, abdominal pain and cramps, lightheadedness or dizziness (due to dehydration), bleeding and fever. If you are noticing these symptoms, drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes. This will allow your body to replace fluid lost due to dehydration.

Usually diarrhea starts to get better after two days. If your diarrhea persists more than two days, consult a healthcare professional.

Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is one of the most devastating consequences of well water contamination. Lead is a toxic metal. Lead poisoning, also known as plumbism and saturnism, occurs when lead builds up in the body.

Lead can get into your water supply when plumbing materials such as pipes that contain lead corrode. Lead poisoning is a serious condition and can even be life-threatening. Even small amounts of lead in the body can lead to health complications.

Kids younger than six are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning. Lead can severely affect their mental and physical development. Long-term exposure to lead can increase an individual’s risk of kidney damage and high blood pressure.

Elevated levels of lead in the blood of an expectant mother can cause misscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. It can also have negative effects on a developing baby, causing them to be born too small. Some symptoms of lead poisoning are abdominal cramps and pain,  fatigue, loss of appetite, constipation and high blood pressure.


Arsenic is highly toxic. Arsenicosis, commonly known as arsenic poisoning, occurs when too much arsenic gets into  the body. Arsenic is usually found in wastewater released by industrial sites. It can also enter your water supply from natural deposits in the earth. Even when consumed in small amounts over a long period, it can cause serious health issues and can damage the lungs, liver and kidneys.

Arsenic can cause different types of cancers including bladder cancer, lung cancer and skin cancer. Some common symptoms of arsenic poisoning are nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, red or swollen skin and lesions or warts.


Dysentery occurs when the intestines become inflamed. It is usually caused by amoeba or shigella bacteria.  Some common signs of dysentery include high fever, belly cramps, nausea and vomiting. If left untreated, dysentery can cause dehydration and even death.

If you are experiencing dysentery symptoms, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. If your condition worsens, see a doctor. In some cases, IV fluid replacement may be necessary.

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is caused by Salmonella typhi, a bacteria . It is commonly found in contaminated food and water. Salmonella typhi bacteria is found in water sources contaminated with animal and human faeces.

Animal and human waste can enter your well through an overflowing or malfunctioning sewage system. Floodwater and stormwater contain different types of bacteria and viruses and can also contaminate your well with Salmonella typhi bacteria.

Runoff from agricultural sites can carry pathogens. If runoff from a nearby agricultural or industrial site into your well, your water supply can become contaminated.

If left untreated, typhoid fever can cause health complications and even death. Some symptoms of the condition are nausea, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, prolonged high fever and constipation.


Salmonellosis or salmonella infection is a common bacterial disease. It affects the intestinal tract. The salmonella bacteria is found in animal faeces. It can enter your water supply when animals defecate near your well. Sometimes, bacteria in nearby water bodies such as rivers, lakes and ponds can travel to your well, finally ending up in your drinking water. Some symptoms of salmonellosis include dehydration, abdominal cramps, fever and vomiting.

Weeks Drilling & Pump Co. is committed to helping private well owners get the most out of their private wells. We are your go-to team for well installation and maintenance. We use time-tested methods and specialized tools to clean wells. To schedule a well inspection, call 707-823-3184.