If you have brown water coming from your well, you may be wondering if it is safe to drink. While the water may not look appealing, the reality is that brown water from a well is generally safe to drink.

In most cases, the cause of brown water is due to natural minerals in the groundwater being disturbed. This can happen when there is a change in the water table or when there is construction near the well.

To be safe, if you plan on drinking your brown well water, you can boil it first. This will help reduce the mineral content and remove any impurities in the water that may affect the taste or odor.

If you are not going to be drinking the brown water, but you are using it for other purposes such as washing clothes or watering your garden, there is no need to worry too much.

What Causes Brown Well Water?


The most common cause of brown well water is iron. Iron is a naturally occurring element that is found in rocks and soil. It’s not harmful to humans in small doses, but too much iron in your water can give it an unpleasant taste and smell.

Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to get rid of excess iron in your water.

One is to install an iron filter, which will remove the iron from your water as it comes into your home. Another option is to add oxygen to your well water, which will cause the iron to oxidize and fall out of the solution.

After it will settle to the bottom of your well or storage tank, and the clear water can be drawn off for drinking.

See also  Does Well Water Freeze in the Winter?


Generally speaking, brown water from your well shouldn’t pose any health risks. If you notice that your water is looking a little muddy or cloudy, it’s probably just due to particles of sediment or minerals that have gotten into your water supply. While it’s not the most pleasant thing to look at, these particles aren’t harmful and can easily be filtered out.

Construction Work

A sudden change in the color of your water could also be due to runoff from construction sites or factories. This type of water may contain harmful chemicals or metals that can be dangerous to consume.

So if you know about work going on close to your well, be sure to monitor the water and avoid drinking it if you notice any changes in color or odor.

Stagnant Well

Another exception to the rule is if your well water has been stagnant for a long period of time. Stagnant water can become contaminated with bacteria or other microorganisms that can make you sick. If your well water has been stagnant, it is best to have it flushed out by a professional before using it again.

Bad Pipework

Rusty pipes are another common cause of brown water. This is most often seen in older homes with galvanized steel pipes. When these pipes start to corrode, they can release rust into the water, causing it to take on a brown tint.

The only way to fix this problem is to replace the affected pipes with new ones. This is generally a job for a professional plumber, but if you’re handy and have some experience with plumbing, you might be able to do it yourself.

See also  How Often Should You Change Out Your Well Water Filter?

That said, if your water suddenly turns brown and you haven’t done any work on your well recently, it could be a sign that there’s something else going on.

If the brown color is accompanied by a foul odor or taste, it could mean that your well has been contaminated with bacteria or other harmful microorganisms. In this case, you should contact a professional immediately to have your water tested and treated.

How do you clean brown water from a well?

While brown water is not always unsafe to drink, it can certainly make it unpleasant and cause staining on clothing and fixtures.

Here are a few tips on how to clean brown water from your well:

  • Filtration system – If you find out that the iron content in your water is making it brown, you can use a filtration system with an iron removal filter to get rid of it. This type of filter uses a resin bed to trap and remove the iron from your water.
  • Oxygenation – Another option for cleaning brown well water is to add oxygen to it. This process, known as aeration, allows excess iron to oxidize and fall out of the solution. Once the iron has settled at the bottom of your well or water storage tank, the clear water can be drawn off for drinking.
  • Flushing – If your well has been stagnant for a long period of time, it may be necessary to flush it out to remove any bacteria or other harmful microorganisms that may have built up in the system. This is typically something that should be done by a professional, but if you are handy and have some experience with plumbing, you may be able to do it yourself.
  • Chlorine -If you have manganese in your water, you can shock the well with chlorine to remove it. Be sure to have the well water tested before being shocked, as shocking the well could increase the level of nitrates.
  • Aeration system/Air Aspirated filter – You can also install an aeration system, which will add oxygen to the water and help to break down the iron and manganese molecules so they can be filtered out more easily.
  • Raise pH levels – Another option is to raise the pH level of the water, which will make the iron and manganese less soluble and therefore easier to filter out. There are several ways to do this, including adding lime or sodium hydroxide.
See also  Why Does My Well Water Stop Running?

Ultimately, the best way to clean brown water from your well is by having it tested and treated by a professional. This will ensure that you get the most effective treatment for your specific water quality issues while minimizing any potential negative impacts on the environment or your health.


So, is brown water from a well safe to drink? In most cases, yes. However, if you notice a sudden change in the color of your water or it starts to smell bad, it could be a sign of contamination and you should have it checked out by a professional right away.

Also if you notice that the water from your taps is consistently brown, it is best to contact a plumber or your local water authority to have your pipes or water supply tested for contamination.

About the author

I started working as a quality control manager with the Water Authority of Nassau County in 2005. After a few years, I moved into Water Waste Prevention, where I currently work as the production supervisor. I love my job and the people I work with, but most of all I love spending time with my family.