What Causes Salty Well Water?

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It the water in your well tastes salty, it's time to get it checked.
It the water in your well tastes salty, it's time to get it checked. (Image: village well image by Svetlana Tikhonova from Fotolia.com)

The water in a private well is not monitored by a government or municipal agency, thus it is the responsibility of the owner of the well to maintain water quality. It is recommended that you test your water routinely in order to ensure the safety and quality of your water supply. If you notice a strange taste, smell or appearance, have your water tested immediately to be certain the water has not been contaminated with any dangerous substances.

Causes of Salty Well Water

If the water in your well has a salty flavor, it is probably due to a secondary contaminant in the form of total dissolved solids, chloride, sodium or sulfates. Have your water tested for the presence of these minerals in order to find out the best course of action regarding water treatment.

Effects of Salty Well Water

Salty well water is generally not harmful. The presence of total dissolved solids, chloride, sodium or sulfates typically will have no effect on the health of an individual who drinks the water. Total dissolved solids may cause water hardness, deposits, strangely colored water or staining of materials that come in contact with the water, but this would not usually be harmful to the health of humans or animals drink the water.

Treatments for Salty Well Water

Salty water is usually treated through cation/anion exchange, reverse osmosis or distillation. For home use, purchase a reverse osmosis system, which will use pressure to push water through a semipermeable membrane in order to filter out contaminants, or a distiller which will heat the water to boiling and collect the water vapor in the form of condensation, filtering out many common contaminants. Alternatively, you could hire a professional water treatment company to come to your house and treat your water for a fee, but treatments could be expensive and may need to be repeated in the future.

Where to Get Well Water Testing

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a program that certifies labs for water testing. Contact the certification officer in your state for help locating a certified water testing lab in your area. Do not use a noncertified lab, as the quality of its service may not be up to EPA standards and its tests may miss critical elements that could cause problems.

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