If you have a well, you understand that sometimes the water can run a little brown. This is especially true after heavy rains or if there has been work done on your property. But what if your water consistently runs brown? Is this cause for concern?

The answer, unfortunately, is that it depends. If the brown water is coming from all your faucets, then it’s likely due to sediment in the well itself and is not harmful. However, if only certain faucets are affected or if the brown water is accompanied by an unpleasant odor, then it could be indicative of a more serious problem. In this case, it’s best to err on the side of caution and have your water tested by a professional.

Depending on the results of the test, they will be able to advise you on whether or not you need to take further action.

What Causes Brown Water from a Well?

There are several possible explanations for brown water coming from your well, including:


This is the most common cause of brown water and is not harmful. Sediment may enter your water supply if there has been recent construction near your property or if there has been flooding in the area. It can also happen if there has been a prolonged dry spell followed by a period of heavy rain. The best way to deal with sediment-related brown water is to let it run until it clears up. This could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.


If your home has iron pipes, rust can leach into your water supply and cause it to turn brown. While rust in small amounts isn’t harmful, prolonged exposure can lead to problems such as gastrointestinal issues and anemia. If you think rust might be the cause of your brown water, have your well tested for iron levels. If they are high, you may need to install a filtration system or make other changes to your water supply system.

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Organic Material

If there are trees or other vegetation growing near your well, their roots can invade and break through the casing; this allows dirt and other organic materials to seep in and contaminate your water supply. In addition to causing the water to turn brown, this can also lead to problems with taste and odor. If you suspect that organic contamination might be an issue, have your well tested for bacterial growth. If bacteria are present, you will need to have the well cleaned and disinfected by a professional.

Ongoing Work Close to the Well

A change in water color can indicate that harmful chemicals or metals from runoff at construction sites or factories have made their way into your well. If this is the case, you will need to have your water tested for heavy metals and other toxic substances.

Stagnant Water

If your well water has not been used in a while, it may become stagnant and turn brown. To prevent this from happening, try using your well water at least once or twice a week.

If water is left stagnant for too long, it can become contaminated with bacteria and other organisms. This can cause the water to turn brown, as well as lead to other medical issues. If you suspect that your water may have become contaminated due to being left stagnant, be sure to flush it out before consuming or using it again.

Rusty Pipes

If you have old iron pipes, it’s possible that rust has built up inside and is now leaching into your water supply. If this is the case, replacing your pipes should resolve the problem.

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Corroded pipes can release rust into the water, causing it to take on a brownish tint. If you suspect that this might be the cause of your brown water, have an expert examine your pipes to determine if they need to be replaced.

While brown water coming from a well can certainly be concerning, in most cases it is not indicative of a serious problem.

Whatever the cause of your brown water, the best way to deal with it is to work closely with a trained professional who can help you understand what exactly is going on and come up with an effective solution. With the help of a professional, you can rest assured that your water will be safe and clean for you and your family to enjoy.


If you’re seeing brown water coming out of your taps, don’t panic – in most cases, it’s nothing to worry about and will clear up on its own eventually.

If you suspect there’s something wrong with your well water, the best option is to have a professional test it for potential health hazards. By conducting a little research, you should be able to figure out what’s causing your brown water and take the necessary steps to resolve the problem.

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.