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Emerging Well Water Contaminants You Should Know About

Private well owners have the freedom of having their own water supply present on their property, as well as the ability to avoid the chemicals and contaminants that are sometimes introduced into water during the water treatment process. However, there are still potential risks. Some contaminants are more likely to occur in private wells, and regular testing and thorough treatment are critical to ensure your safety. Here are some of the emerging well water contaminants that private well owners should know about.

What Are Emerging Contaminants?

As water quality tests, manufacturing and agricultural production evolve, scientists are able to detect new substances and very minute quantities of chemicals present in your water. This means that many researchers are finding evidence of the presence of drugs, personal care products and other substances from homes, farms and industrial workplaces. The general term for these substances is “emerging contaminants,” and they can be found in municipal water and well water.

One study of emerging well water contaminants looked at almost 140 streams across the United States. Scientists detected 82 chemicals in 80% of the waterways that were tested from 1999-2000, and since then things have likely gotten worse. The chemicals discovered included steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, prescription drugs, antibiotics, caffeine, and bug spray.

These emerging contaminants can get into the water supply in a variety of ways. Industrial and agricultural chemicals often enter the water supply through runoff from agricultural land, wastewater from plants and discharge from septic systems. Antibiotics, for example, are often washed into the water supply from individuals flushing expired medication down the toilet or from the antibiotics used to treat livestock and poultry that appear in the wastewater of farms. A single contaminant might have multiple sources that contribute to the increase of overall contamination levels.

What Happens When You Consume These Emerging Well Water Contaminants?

Even though prescription drugs and other medications are commonly used throughout the country, their safety for their prescribed use is different from their safety for consumption through the water supply in small amounts. There are currently 18 emerging well water contaminants that the United States Geological Survey is tracking. That list includes ibuprofen, antacids, codeine, caffeine, and antidepressants. Many of these are only found in very small concentrations, but even in small amounts steroids and antibiotics can be hazardous to your health.

How Do You Test for Emerging Well Water Contaminants?

Testing for many types of emerging contaminants can be expensive, as they are present in such small amounts that rigorous testing is necessary. Hague Quality Water of Maryland can help you in determining what contaminants might be present in your well water based on your surrounding area and local water quality information. If you wish, we can also assist you with testing for your private well or the water in your home from municipal sources. If you are located near a water source where testing has already taken place, we can also help you find those results and make informed decisions based on them.

How Can You Get Rid of Emerging Well Water Contaminants?

The team at Hague Quality Water of Maryland is here to help guide you through the process of removing many common contaminants from your water. We have several different options to improve your water quality, including carbon filters and reverse osmosis systems. The right solution for you will depend on your water quality, volume of use and other factors like your budget.

You can prevent well water contaminants by changing behaviors that contribute to water quality problems. Never flush prescription medication or over the counter medications down the toilet. When possible, think critically about the amount of personal care products that you use. Avoid using clothes that are treated with stain-resistant chemicals, as these chemicals then wash out into the waterways. Reduce your consumption of pre-packaged foods, and always choose reusable metal or ceramic water vessels over anything that is made of plastic.

Test and Treat Your Water with Hague Quality Water of Maryland

If you are concerned about the quality and contents of your water, we are here to help with your water improvement projects. Whether you need the Hague WaterMax® System or additional filtration beyond that, our team cares deeply about the health and safety of your family.  We offer a convenient mail-in water testing kit for conducting a complete water test at home. If you’d prefer to drop off samples, you can also do so easily. For additional assistance, call Hague Quality Water of Maryland at (410) 757-2992.