What’s in my water?

City Water

Municipalities remove bigger particles such as leaves and silt from water and also disinfect it with chemicals to eliminate disease causing organisms. As a result, city water may contain:

  • Chlorine or chloramines – used by municipalities to filter and disinfect water. These chemicals can leave behind an unpleasant taste and odor.
  • Fluoride – added to protect teeth and prevent germs.
  • Metals and other contaminants – may be picked up as water flows through pipes to your home. See well water list below for examples of other potential contaminants.
Running faucet

Well Water*

Private wells are not subject to water guidelines. As a result, it is recommended to test your well annually because of constantly changing ground conditions. Well water may contain:

  • Arsenic – undetectable smell and taste, but may lead to nerve, heart, skin and blood vessel damage.
  • Metals – rusty color and smell, creates a metallic taste.
  • Nitrates – undetectable smell and taste, may cause brain damage in infants.
  • Silt/sediment – visible particles and cloudy water.
  • Coliform Bacteria – undetectable, associated with E. coli.
  • Fluoride – undetectable, may lead to tooth discoloration.
  • Hardness – spots on dishes, dry skin, leads to stains and higher appliance bills.
  • Cysts – cause abdominal pain.
  • Lead – may lead to nerve damage and high blood pressure.
  • Chemicals – such as atrazine, benzene and lindane: undetectable but may have multiple health effects.
  • Pharmaceuticals – enter water through the waste stream.

* Sources:

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