If you have a well and are considering hooking your property up to the city water supply you may be wondering if you can have both in your home. Perhaps you want to keep your well water for drinking and city water for bathing and laundry.
But is this possible? And if so what does it involve? We look at whether you can have both well water and city water in your home.
Using Both Well And City Water
You may have bought a new home in the country with its own well, or perhaps you have decided to bore your own well even though you are connected to city water. But can you keep your city water supply and still have well water piped into your house?
Many people like the idea of drinking water that they have pumped from their own water source. It is fresh and full of nutrients such as calcium and magnesium. And there are preconceived ideas about what city water actually contains.
So you want to combine both to get the freshness of well water but the convenience of city water for sanitation. Whether this is allowed will depend on where you live. Some states will not allow mixing well water with city water; others put strict conditions on it.
Backflow devices would need to be fitted to make sure there is no cross contamination between the well water and the city water. Even then in some states this device has to be tested on a regular basis and can be costly.
Testing The Water
When you have your own well you are responsible for testing the water regularly. While well water contains helpful minerals it can also contain chemicals that have seeped into the water from the soil.
Other contaminants include sewage and run off from agricultural sources.
City water is constantly being tested to ensure that it is safe for consumption. In this sense the city is accountable for the quality of the water. The process is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA sets limits on 90 contaminants that may be found in drinking water. These limits reflect the level that would affect human health and that the best available technology can achieve in the water systems.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) each state can set its own standards for drinking water as long as they reflect the EPA’s standards at a minimum.
Testing your own well water can be as simple as taking a sample to a certified laboratory, and they normally provide a specific container depending on the test to be done.
Cost Of Well Water Versus City Water
There are obviously costs to consider when deciding whether to have well water or city water supplied to your home.
Although water from your own well will be free there are costs involved in getting the water out, maintaining the equipment and the electricity to run the well pump. As we have seen you are also responsible for testing the water which is another cost.
City water can be very expensive depending on where you live and what your usage is.
The scarcity of water in some areas can push prices up but also the cost of purifying water for consumption is becoming higher as more pollutants enter the system.
Although you don’t need to test city water, the cost of keeping the quality of the drinking water at a safe level will inevitably be passed on to households through their water bill.
If you have both a well and city water supply you can use the well water for irrigation to your yard and use city water for your home which will save you money on watering your plants.
Pros & Cons Of Well Water
Below we will take a look at some of the benefits and downsides of using water from your own well .
The pros of well water are:
- No annual or monthly water bill
- Nutrient rich fresh water supply
- Protected against natural disasters such as flooding
- Having your own well can increase your property’s appeal if you are planning to sell in the future
The cons of well water are:
- Well water is dependent on electricity, during power outages you will have no way of pumping water
- You are responsible for the quality of the water
- Wells can run dry as groundwater sources are not infinite
- Well water can become contaminated
- Well water is typically hard and causes mineral deposits to build up in pipework and on appliances. It also doesn’t lather as well, so you will need to use more detergents and soaps with hard well water
- Maintenance of well pump, pressure tank and pipework can be costly
Pros & Cons of City Water
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of using city water.
The pros of city water are:
- Consistent supply of clean water
- Quality of the water is the responsibility of the water company
- Infrastructure is already in place no outlay for pumps, pipes or pressure tanks
- Widespread availability of water in urban areas
The cons of city water are:
- More expensive with monthly or annual water bills
- Not as fresh as well water as it comes from surface and runoff water and has to undergo extensive filtration and treatment before being suitable for consumption
- The water supply is under someone else’s control and can be switched off
- Large scale contamination is possible from flooding or other natural disasters
Is It Possible To Combine Well Water & City Water?
Now that we have examined the subject of whether you can have both well water and city water it is clear that in most instances you will need to make a choice between the two.
For most people it will not be possible to combine them due to cross contamination risks.
Although if you retain your well for irrigation and livestock with city water supplying your home you will have the best of both worlds.