Is Your Well Water Yellow? Here's What To Do

November 29, 2022
Fitness & Lifestyle

Having a private well is a great way to ensure that your home has a steady water supply system all year-round. Wells are often located outside of the home, and are dug deep underground to retrieve water from underground rivers or aquifers.

While wells can provide a reliable supply of water to your home, their location makes them also susceptible to debris and contaminants that can change the color of the water. If your well water is yellow, it can be due to a number of factors from iron bacteria, to organic material, which can pose health risks.

Why is My Well Water Yellow?

Important note: Water coloration alone is not enough to conclude the cause of contaminated water. Have your water tested to find the source of the issue, and apply the appropriate solution to get rid of the problem for good!

#1 Rusty Pipes

Red, yellow, and brown water may indicate a problem with rusty pipes, especially if the water is discolored in only some taps within the house. This indicates that water is passing through rusty pipes, and is picking up traces of rust along with it.

The first thing you'll notice with rusty pipes is that the initial water flow would have a concentrated dark yellow tint. The water will have a metallic smell and taste from the iron oxide in rust, and you may find discolored water lines around your sink when you use the tap. Rust can pose a health risk when consumed.

#2 Soil

If your well water turns yellow after strong rains or storms, then the rain most likely carried soil, or minerals obtained from soil, into your well. The water may look yellow or brown, and may have a metallic taste depending on the concentration of minerals in the water.

If your water is yellow, and has sediment floating around, then you may have surface water leaking into your well, carrying soil and other minerals into your water supply. This can greatly affect your water quality, and lead to other problems such as moss or algae growth, bacterial growth, and parasites in your water.

#3 Iron Bacteria Contamination

Iron bacteria live in moist soil, and can sometimes make their way into underground wells, contaminating the water that gets into your home. These bacteria feed off of metals in the soil, like manganese and iron, oxidizing them in the process - this is what produces the reddist to yellow discoloration.

Iron bacteria can produce yellow water, but it may also show up as red or orange water. The water will feel slimy or sticky, and will have a thicker consistency. The water may smell swampy, and have an oily taste and feel to it.

#4 Organic Materials

Decaying organic material can cause your water supply to turn yellow, and these organic materials can be in the form of peat moss, algae, or other vegetation. If your well is outside, and does not have a secure cover, then there may be decaying animal matter as well that is causing your water to turn yellow.

Yellow water isn't the only sign of decaying organic material in your well. Decaying vegetation may produce black or gray water, while algae present in well water can produce a yellow, green, or red color. The water may have a sewage smell or may smell fishy due to algae. You may find debris in the water as well.

What to Do With Yellow Water

#1 Use a Backwashing Sediment Filter

Some households use a water softener to remove the rust particles formed in their water supplies, but a water softener only filters out traces of rust. If your tap water is discolored, this may indicate a pressing problem with rust that cannot be filtered out by a water softener.

A backwashing sediment filtration system is meant to remove any contaminants from your tap water, including traces of ferric iron. To find the proper iron filter system for your home, do water tests that will determine the concentration and particle size of the contaminants present in your water.

#2 Use a Water Treatment System

Water treatment systems, like a reverse osmosis system, filter out traces of sediment and minerals in the water, such as soil and ferric iron. Reverse osmosis systems filter out the water molecules, creating fresh drinking water with the least amount of total dissolved solids (TDS).

#3 Use a UV Disinfection Treatment

UV disinfection can kill bacteria that is making your tap water yellow. However, before you can do any sort of iron bacteria removal process, you should contact your local authorities regarding water treatments as most states have their own water treatment services.

#4 Deep Clean Your Well

If your well has become contaminated with rain water runoff, debris, or organic material, then a professional deep cleaning may be necessary. Cleaning, in combination with other water treatments such as activated carbon filtration, may provide you the best solution at combating your water problem.

#5 Drink Bottled Water

If yellow tap water continues to be a problem for you, then opt to switch to bottled drinking water instead for all your hydration needs. Bottled water is carefully regulated, and at My Own Water, we maintain strict standards when it comes to our water, so you get only the purest, and freshest water available! 

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