Signs & Symptoms of Bad Well Water

Tia Shamoon

Well water can provide your home with several advantages, such as the absence of a water bill and the decreased risk of possible contamination from a public water system.

Wells provide drinking water to many residents.

If your water supply becomes polluted due to a recent flood, nearby construction or by natural causes, sometimes signs and symptoms will be present that can help determine if you need professional help to correct a major problem.


Odors that are present in your drinking water can have several causes. The most common odor is a rotten egg odor that is caused by hydrogen sulfide. This odor can either be associated with cold water or hot water only. Other odors could be caused by different species of algae, which can cause musty or fishy odors. A common denominator of many water odors is the decaying of flora. Activated carbon helps to treat most odor causing agents.


Water that contains an unpleasant taste could derive from many different factors. Metallic compounds, magnesium chloride and magnesium bicarbonate are some common reasons for water to take on a taste. Taste problems can be the reactions to the chemicals used in recent water treatments or derivatives from nearby industrial actions or have originated within the water supply. As with odors, the decaying of flora is one of the most common explanations for unpleasant taste in water and activated carbon is best for treating most causes for these tastes.


Water containing too much iron can leave rusty colored rings in the bathtub, sink and washing machine. Laundry and ice cubes can begin to stain with a yellowish color. It can also cause a metallic taste and create a dark gray to black color when used to make tea and coffee. Clear running water with a metallic taste is contaminated with ferrous iron. Once ferrous iron is exposed to air it converts to ferric iron, which causes the rusty color stains. Using a sediment filter will help remove ferric iron. Once the ferric iron has filtered, add a water softener to filter out the ferrous iron.

Hard Water

Excess calcium, magnesium and iron will cause hard water. Hard water can leave a thick scale film in the bathtub and on shower walls. It can also stiffen laundry and spot your glassware as it dries. If your hair feels sticky or looks dull after washing it, it is probably due to hard water. Affected water heaters may begin to use more energy, which can increase your utility bill. You can use water softeners to decrease hardness and reduce water scale.