What To Do When Your Well Water Suddenly Tastes Bad

For a homeowner building on private land, there is nothing like finding a source of fresh, clean, drinkable water. In many cases, this water is underground and requires a well and pump to bring it to the surface, and homeowners willingly drill to get to that lovely source. So it can be disappointing and more than a little alarming when that fresh water suddenly tastes very bad. But there are a couple of steps you can take immediately.

Get the Water Tested Immediately

The first is to get the water tested. A bad taste can be due to anything from a few more minerals leaching into the water to severe contamination, and you need to know what's in the water before anything else. When you first notice the taste, stop drinking the well water until you have a full report.

The test will show whether there is an abnormal amount of minerals, if there is contamination (and if so, from what), if there are micro-organisms, and so on. Once you have that information, you'll have to do one of three things.

Find a New Water Source

At the more severe end is the possibility that your well is contaminated and unsafe to drink. Maybe agricultural runoff has contaminated the water, or maybe there are bad bacteria infesting the water now. You'll have to work with a well company to find a new source and drill a new well.

Extend or Replace the Pump

In the middle is the possibility of extending the well pump, which may entail replacing it, depending on your setup. Sometimes underground water sources become low, allowing the minerals in the water to become more concentrated. Too many of these minerals can make the water seem brackish or stagnant.

Reaching fresh water again could mean drilling deeper to reach a deeper source or simply replacing the pump with one that extends farther down so that the pump draws up fresher water.

Trick Your Taste Buds

At the lighter end is the possibility that nothing is really wrong; maybe there are a few more minerals but not enough to create a safety or severe quality problem. The water is fine, just no longer to your taste. In that case, try using the well water for non-drinking purposes, or mask the flavor with juice, tea, powdered flavoring, and other types of flavors.

Changing well water taste is not unusual, but it does require investigation. Contact a well water systems company to have the water tested and the well moved or changed.