Wells are one of the earliest structures mankind has ever made. Even way back in ancient times, wells were already used to acquire water resources for drinking, washing clothes, or bathing. And to this day, wells are still in existence. Yes, it is true, wells are used in rural areas or by households that want to save money on bills.
In rural areas, groundwater is their primary resource. They do not have water systems, unlike urban cities where people have intricate pipeline systems. For this reason, they also rely on it for drinking water. While treated groundwater is safe to drink, there can be an occurrence (read more) that makes people doubt drinking the liquid.
Cloudy groundwater makes any person skeptical, as it can be a red flag for many reasons. In this article, we will find out why well waters appear cloudy and when it is and isn’t safe for drinking.
Wells 101: A Brief Overview
Wells are structures used to get water supply from aquifers. This structure is an excavation of the ground by drilling and digging. Modern wells have pumps that draw up the groundwater from aquifers. Aquifers are underground layers of permeable rocks that can bear liquids. The traditional ones use a bucket and a mechanism to lower it down to get the liquid and pull it back up.
Wells are a great way to save up some cash. Making a private one is inexpensive and only requires some manual labor. But of course, aquifers are not always under your feet, you will need someone that would help you identify where those layers of water-bearing rocks are. Locating where the aquifers are, is the job of groundwater surveyors or a hydrogeologist.
How Is Well Water Collected?
Well waters, or groundwater, are the liquid you get from aquifers. The science behind the magic is best described by the water cycle.
To summarize, a part of precipitation infiltrates into the subsurface (a stratum below the surface). The precipitation continues downward through the soil and reaches the solid water-bearing rocks is what we call groundwater recharge. The groundwater move slowly but eventually discharge into oceans, lakes, and streams.
Is It Safe To Drink?
Groundwater as a source of drinking water is unreliable. It is best to treat groundwater first, like filtering, boiling, and distilling, before drinking it. Groundwater is subject to many changes as many factors affect it (more of that later).
4 Reasons Why Well Waters Are Cloudy
1. It Maybe From Dissolved Gases Or Air Bubbles
When many gas bubbles are in the groundwater, it will make it look cloudy. It is similar to tap water when you blow air onto it and make bubbles. The air bubbles are due to pumping your good pump while the water levels are low.
It will cause a mixture of liquid and gas, then bubbles appear. Monitoring the groundwater levels is one way to avoid air bubbles. Another one is to reduce water consumption to prevent the groundwater level from getting any lower.
Another cause of these air bubbles is water well devices, such as filters. These devices need to use air to treat the groundwater before using it. So if you just installed your first well device, it is likely the source of the cloudy appearance, and there is no need to be alarmed!
However, the air bubbles can also be a sign of natural gases present in the aquifers. Methane is one of the most common natural gas. Though it is typically harmless in small amounts, methane can be dangerous in larger quantities, and when ignited, an explosion can occur. It is best to call some experts to study the source.
2. It May Be Contaminated
Contamination is perhaps at the top list of your suspicion when you think of the word “cloudy water.” To tell you bluntly, it may be a possibility. Cloudy well water is a big red flag of contamination, and it can be from two factors: pathogens and chemicals. When you doubt, do not drink it and check the devices if they are working perfectly.
Pathogens are any microorganisms that would cause harm to your body. It can be bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. The four mentioned pathogens can come from the fecal materials of animals or humans. If you have on-site sanitation systems, such as septic tanks, be sure to check if there is any sign of leakage.
Chemicals are unsurprisingly common contaminants of groundwater. Groundwater can get contaminated by nitrates and sludge from sewage systems. Gardening fertilizers and pesticides can also contaminate groundwater as it continues to go down past the soil.
Some minerals may also be chemical contaminants. The best example of these contaminants is lead. The lead leached from old lead pipes’ brass fillings contaminates the groundwater. Other pollutants include naturally occurring chemicals such uranium, arsenic, and random, and they can cause cancer.
3. Sediment Level Is High
Typically, groundwater with high sediment levels is natural. To test the sediment, pour the cloudy well water into a glass and wait for the sediments to settle down. After a while, the water becomes transparent, and dregs appear at the bottom of the glass.
Leakage of surface liquids into the well or contamination in the nearby drilling can cause cloudiness in the groundwater. The issue can be solved through the filtration system. If you found out that there are sediments, better check your filtration systems for any damages.
4. Too Much Manganese Or Iron Content
Manganese and Iron are typically harmless minerals that could cloud your groundwater. The increase of the mineral content is caused by a disturbance of the bedrock. Sometimes you could not see the minerals in the drink, but you can taste something metallic from it. It may also appear cloudy with a grey appearance and black flecks in the liquid.
Iron and Manganese may not be a threat to your health. It can be unpleasant to drink and unsightly. The best way to get rid of these minerals is by removing them using chemical water treatment!