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Sediment in Tap Water

Identifying and Treating for Healthy Plumbing

If you notice particles, sand-like debris, or cloudy water in your tap, your water might contain sediment. Sediment can accumulate due to various factors and affect the water’s appearance and quality. And it certainly is not pleasant to drink. Sediment is most common for those who use a private well as their source of water. Unlike city water, well water lacks municipal filtering, allowing natural particles to affect water quality. Neglecting sediment can lead to deposits affecting water pressure, and damaging pipes, heaters, appliances, valves, fixtures, and faucets.

What causes sediment in tap water?

The sediment in well water primarily comes from the natural environment around the well. When rain or snow melts and seeps into the ground, it can carry tiny particles of soil and rock with it. As this water makes its way into your well, these particles become part of the well water. However, it is also possible for aging plumbing to contribute to sediment in your tap water. Without an inspection, it may be hard to determine whether the sediment is from the groundwater or the plumbing itself. Learn more about well inspection.

Potential causes of excessive sediment:

      1. Well Screen or Casing Issues:
        • Damaged screens or worn casings may allow sediments into the well.
        • Regular inspections (every 10 years) can identify and prevent these issues.
      2. Pipe Corrosion:
        • Corroded iron or copper pipes can introduce sediment into the water supply.
        • pH levels, salts, oxygen, and contaminants like iron bacteria contribute to corrosion.
      3. Well Pump Size:
        • An oversized pump can draw in sand, impacting the aquifer.
        • Professional assessment and pump replacement may be necessary.
      4. Well Pump Placement:
        • Low-set pumps can draw in sediments like grit or sand.
        • Ensure the pump is correctly positioned to prevent sediment intake.
      5. Drilling Process:
        • Sediment may enter the well during well drilling or maintenance.
        • Allow time for settled sediment to clear from a new well water supply.

Is sediment in tap water a health hazard?

Most organic sediment does not pose a health threat to humans and pets, but it can be damaging to plumbing and appliances. Over time, those particles can cause staining and spots on clothing, sinks, toilets, appliances, and other fixtures.

Sediment buildup within pipes can also lead to reduced water flow, clogs, and strain or abrasion to plumbing fixtures, potentially shortening their lifespan.

How can I get rid of sediment?

Point of use

Depending on the cause and the severity of the sediment, you may choose to filter your water only at the point of use – at the kitchen sink, for example. A reverse osmosis system is one of the most thorough methods of filtration. It removes up to 98% of dissolved solids.

Point of entry

Alternatively, if plumbing damage is a concern, you may choose a solution that treats your whole home, beginning at the point of entry. This will help prevent sediment from causing build-up in your pipes or damage to your water appliances.

Reverse Osmosis removes up to 98% of dissolved solids.


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The Right Solution Starts with an Accurate Test

The first step in addressing well water issue is to have it professionally tested

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U.S. Water offers comprehensive well water testing services through its Wisconsin state-certified water testing lab. This ensures the most accurate testing and, with our test facility onsite, you are guaranteed a fast turnaround time. In addition to our basic analysis, we offer a full range of certified water tests and well inspection services.