Drinking Water Contents


Drinking Water Well Quality Basics

Groundwater, the source of water for private wells, is never simply a pure combination of hydrogen and oxygen atoms (H20). It contains many impurities, reflecting the composition of the soils, sand, gravel, and rock through which it travels. Groundwater naturally contains:

  1. Dissolved minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, chloride, and sulfate
  2. Gases such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen
  3. Dissolved organic compounds

As a result of human activity, groundwater can also contain contaminants such as pesticides, nitrate, metals, …

Drinking Water Treatment – pH Adjustment


About pH

pH is an indicator of the acid or alkaline …

Drinking Water Treatment – Activated Alumina

EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Fluoride, arsenic, selenium, and chromium.


Uses of activated alumina

Activated alumina can be used as a point-of-entry or point-of-use water treatment device. Activated alumina absorbs contaminants instead of filtering them. The effectiveness of activated alumina depends on the contaminant, characteristics of the …

Drinking Water Treatment – Oxidizing Filters

EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Oxidizing filters oxidize and filter iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide in one unit.



An oxidizing filter is an in-line, point-of-entry device (on the main incoming water line) that converts dissolved iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide to a solid form and then …

Drinking Water Treatment – Potassium Permanganate

EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Dissolved iron and manganese, and hydrogen sulfide.


Uses of potassium permanganate

Potassium permanganate is a point-of-entry treatment method that oxidizes dissolved iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide into solid particles that are …

Drinking Water and Human Health Effects

Health effects related to contaminants in drinking water can be divided into two categories: those that cause acute effects and those that cause chronic effects.

Acute health effects

Acute effects are usually seen within a short time after exposure to a substance. Acute effects may result from water containing pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, or they may result from a single large exposure to a chemical contaminant. Acute health effects are generally reversible as long as the contaminant of …

Drinking Water Treatment – Ozone

EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms including bacteria and viruses, phenols, some color, taste and odor problems, iron and manganese, and turbidity.

NOT EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Large cysts and some other large organisms, inorganic chemicals, and heavy metals.


Setback Distance From Septic to Drinking Water Well

Many rural residents use an on-site wastewater treatment system (an individual septic system) for treatment and disposal of wastewater, or sewage. Household wastewater may contain contaminants such as disease-causing bacteria, infectious viruses, household chemicals, and excess nutrients. A properly designed, installed, and maintained septic treatment system will reduce the risk of polluting the drinking water supply with these contaminants.

State and local codes specify how on-site wastewater treatment systems must be designed, installed, and maintained. A septic tank and …

Drinking Water Treatment – Filtration

EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Small particles and suspended solids such as ferric iron, clay, silt and sand, and some pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, and colloids (suspended matter).

NOT EFFECTIVE AGAINST: Any dissolved contaminants such as nitrate, dissolved iron, sodium, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).