dirty/cloudy well water... comes and goes

Discussion in 'Pumps and Tanks Well Forum & Blog. Water is life.' started by milt2k4, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. milt2k4

    milt2k4 New Member

    Mar 30, 2008
    We live in a new house with a well that is less than 1 year old. A little over a week ago, the water started to look dirty and cloudy. There was even a layer of dirt was in the sink after running it for awhile. We have a sulfur treatment and water softener system, so we called that company out to take a look. They said that equipment was fine. So, we bleached the well and flushed the lines and the water cleared up within a day. Today, I flushed the toilet and noticed again that the water is looking cloudy. It is not as bad as it was before (yet) but it does not clear up after it sits for awhile.
    We live in Ohio and have had lots of rain lately, so I am sure the water tables are high. I am concerned if this water is safe to drink and am starting to wonder if something is wrong with our well. Of course, our driller retired and moved to Florida right after drilling our well last year so we'd have to find someone new.
    Any thoughts?
    Thank you!!
  2. thassler

    thassler Member

    Dec 5, 2006
    Systems Analyst
    Can you check to see if the water is cloudy directly from the well (before any filter equipment)? Sometimes the backwash timer gets off on my iron filter and it backwashes during a time that I might use water at the house. You could get cloudy water if you use any water during any equipment backwashing. Otherwise, if the water gets cloudy during/after a rain you could be getting surface water down the well (bad).

    ** Not a pro **
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  4. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    What kind of well is it? Shallow well (jet pump inside the house) or a deep well with submersible pump?

    If it is a shallow well then it is possible that the large amount of surface water is getting into the well and is the source of clay-like material. If you have a jet pump you could have a failure of the suction pipe that is allowing surface water into the well.

    If it is a deep well it should have been cased so surface water can't enter the well directly. If the casing is not sealed, or if the water table is so high that an unsealed cap is getting flooded, that could also permit surface water into the well.

    Another possibility if it is a deep well is that the recharge of the aquifer is collecting colloidal material that is being suspended by higher flow rates from recent rainfall.

    If surface water is getting directly into the well there is a risk of contamination that would make it unsafe. If you collect a sample before the treatment system when it is cloudy, and not within a week or so after you have chlorinated the well, you could get it tested for coliform bacteria. If it has coliform bacteria then you definitely have contamination but if the test is negative that is not proof that you don't have contamination.

    If the well is getting directly infiltrated and contaminated with surface waters, then it must be sealed or you need to add filtration and disinfection. The filtration should be a high quality filter that is certified to remove small particles like giardia (about 5 microns) and cryptosporidium (about 3 microns). http://www.harmsco.com/uploads/pdf/harmsco_polypleat_catalog.pdf

    The disinfection must be effective in killing viruses and bacteria that the filters won't remove.

    The risk is highest if you are in a rural area where livestock are kept within the runoff area that could contaminate your well, of if agricultrual operations include spreading manure on nearby fields.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2011
  5. speedbump

    speedbump New Member

    Jul 15, 2005
    Water well and pump tech.
    Riverview, Fl.
    Like thassler said, try by passing the filters for a few days and see what happens. If it clears up, have the filter guys back and tell them they missed something. If it stays the same or gets worse, then call a Well Man.


    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2010
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    As suggested, check the time of day on the control valves. If that is right, then you have a lot of dirt in both the filter and softener, their backwash and regeneration if done on the same night may be drawing the well down too far and causing dirty water caused by drilling mud that was not 'cleaned' out of the well when it was 'developed'. So the next time this happens check to see if one or both have done their thing during the night.

    You should have put both in by-pass when you shocked the well, if not you will damage or ruin the resin and possibly the mineral in the filter. That can cause dirty water. Your well water quality may have changed and you need to set the equipment for that or it can't work correctly but I imagine the equipment guy checked that, but maybe not.

    Shocking a well is a temporary 'fix' and can cause more problems than it is worth. Shocking a well is not going to get rid of dirty water anyway, it usually makes the water more dirty.

    Crypto and giardia are not usually found in groundwater (I've never heard of it in 21 years in water treatment), and unless the top of your well casing is under surface water and it's running down your well, I doubt you will or could have them in your well water.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2011
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