You have well water on your property because it’s more accessible where you live. You may even have it because it can be cleaner, fresher, and higher in minerals. Is this always the case?

Just over 7 million Americans get sick from waterborne diseases each year. This number is comparatively low to many other nations because public water undergoes vigorous treatment before it ever hits your pipes. The problem almost always comes from untreated and unregulated well water. 

What are the signs that your well water is making you sick? What should you do if you suspect well water contamination?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about detecting waterborne diseases in your well water.

Physical Signs Your Well Water Is Making You Sick

Just like mold in your home can cause illness, bacteria in your well water can cause illness. Because E. coli is one of the most common disease-causing bacteria, you’re typically going to experience one or more of the symptoms listed below. 

Flu-Like Symptoms

There are a few flu-like symptoms associated with drinking contaminated well water. The most common symptom is persistent headaches. Less commonly, you may notice achiness throughout the body.

These symptoms tend to arise about three days after consuming contaminated water. They can last for weeks or, if you are drinking contaminated water on a daily basis, months.


As your body tries to fight the bacteria in your water, you may develop a fever. This can be a low-grade fever (between 99 and 100 degrees) and shouldn’t exceed 101 degrees.

Once again, this symptom may arise about three days after drinking contaminated water. It often won’t last more than a week, although other symptoms are likely to persist if you are still drinking bacteria-ridden well water.


Fever isn’t the only sign that your immune system is working over time to fight bacteria. If you and your family start to notice unusual levels of fatigue, it’s possible that your well water is the source.

Fatigue is marked by tiredness, brain fog, and in extreme cases, confusion. If you don’t have your well water treated for bacteria, fatigue may start to fade as you develop immunity. However, you should not continue to drink contaminated well water with the goal of becoming immune to it.

Digestive Issues

We often associate E. coli with food poisoning because of the serious digestive issues it can cause. This includes abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Nausea may be accompanied by vomiting, although this isn’t common.

Abdominal cramps tend to crop up before any other symptom when you have contaminated well water. If one or more members of your family complain of abdominal cramps after consuming your well water, get your water tested right away.

Confirming Water Contamination

Unfortunately, all of the symptoms we’ve listed here could result from a number of problems. Airborne viruses can cause fatigue, fever, and headaches. Contaminated food can cause quick and short-lived digestive problems. 

To rule out or confirm well water as the source of your illness, you should have your well water tested. Frequent water testing can ensure that your well water is always safe to drink and help you take care of maintenance issues before they get worse.

Early Signs of Well Water Contamination

You don’t have to wait until someone in your household is sick to notice that something is wrong with your well water. Pay attention to any of the below signs and order well water testing if you notice any of them. 

Cloudy Water

If your water appears cloudy when it’s coming out of your tap, take it as a sign of poor water quality. Typically, cloudy water contains the silt, clay, or dirt that it has to travel through before getting to your pipes. However, it can also indicate that your pipes are corroding and need repair or replacement.


Sediment in water indicates the same problem as cloudiness: the clay, dirt, and other materials that the water travels through aren’t getting properly filtered out. Sediment is solid and may float or sink depending on the size and density. While it may not cause illness, swallowing sediment can cause digestive upset.


If your well water is running out of your taps with a red or brown tinge that looks a bit like tea, you may have a tannin problem. If your well water is leaving behind red or brown stains, you may have an iron problem.

Neither of these are a problem at low levels, but if they’re high enough to cause discoloration, you may have exceeded recommended limits. You could experience negative side effects, such as severe stomach pain and nausea, as a result. 


When well water has a high concentration of iron and other contaminants, it can develop an oily film. You’ll notice this film on the surface of your water when filling a bowl or a glass. 

Oily film in an old well can indicate that the pump has deteriorated and is leeching metals into the water. Oily film in a new well can indicate that the well is too close to an untreated source like a pond or lake.

Metallic Taste

If your well water tastes metallic (often described as the taste of pennies), it probably contains high-acidity contaminants. Once again, iron is a major contender, but there are other metals that can cause this metallic taste, as well. While acidic contaminants won’t cause diseases like E. coli, they can cause other health problems stemming from heavy metal poisoning or toxicity. 

Call Elite Mold Services for Well Water Testing

Don’t wait for obvious signs that your well water is making you sick. Well water is often safe to drink, but you do have to take certain precautions that households relying on public utilities don’t. Regular water testing can tell you if there are contaminants or bacteria in your well water that aren’t safe to consume.

Elite Mold Services is proud to provide a full range of mold and environmental services in Central Florida. Contact us to schedule your next well water testing appointment.