Well water and city water are the two major water sources in virtually every residential area. Any household that doesn’t have a private well is surely getting its water supply from the city’s water plant. There are specific pros and cons of each type of water and other factors to consider when comparing well water vs city water (private water vs. public water).

Well Water vs City Water: Availability of Water

Availability of Well Water

Private deep well water well set up in front construction house

This water source is constructed by drilling into the ground and gaining access to an aquifer. From this aquifer, water is pumped into the house for bathing, cooking, drinking water, and other functions. In areas like Central Indiana, private wells are a recommended option.

You can have issues with water availability if your aquifer underground doesn’t contain sufficient water or contains very sandy water. Fortunately, a reliable water well drilling firm can easily rectify these issues.

Availability of City Water

new city water pipe construction

The city’s water supply is more prevalent in urban areas than in well water. This water source is so prevalent that unless you’re residing in a very rural area, there’s a good chance that your home has been connected to the city water line.

Despite the prevalence of city water, not every homeowner is connected to city water. Additionally, aside from their area of residence being the issue, not all locations are considered financially rewarding by municipalities.

In such circumstances, homeowners can still have the city water line connected to their houses, but it may involve breaking the bank to achieve that. This includes very high monthly water bills.

Then there are also the common issues with city water utilities such as boil water advisories, broken mains, and other issues such as the effect of time on the city’s plumbing system. In essence, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to city water availability.

That’s why it’s better to combine municipal water with a private well on your property. At least, with your water supply, you’ll have more control over your water availability and can easily fix any problems.

Well Water vs City Water: Water Reliability

Reliability of Well Water

How dependable is well water? When combined with a whole house water filter, your private well can serve as a source of unlimited supply of potable, fresh water. However, your well water’s reliability depends on adequate well servicing and maintenance. Another factor that can impact the reliability of private water is the absence of electricity.

Electricity is required to pump water from under the ground. This means when there’s no electricity, the electric pump won’t function, which equates to the absence of water in your home.

To rectify this, the best course of action is to have an alternative or backup source of electricity such as solar power, wind power, or generator. It’s either that or being prepared to stay without water when there’s no electricity.

Another alternative to ensuring well water supply to your home in the absence of electricity is installing a hand pump. This requires kinetic energy (from your muscles) to function.

Another thing to consider is the cost of constructing a private well. It won’t require a monthly water bill, but it will still incur expenses for periodic maintenance to ensure it functions optimally. Maintenance procedures such as well cleanouts once in every decade, filter replacements, annual inspections, etc., are necessary.

Reliability of City Water

The city manages the water, which means they can switch off the supply to homes in the vicinity. This mostly happens to defaulters who don’t pay the bill. Another circumstance that may lead to the local water utility company switching off the water is water treatment.

In this case, the water may be turned off without prior warning. Perhaps the city water supply has large-scale contamination from a septic system, which is not a common occurrence but is still beyond your control.

It’s also been a thing that cities are raising water bills. The reason is the water has been more polluted recently. The greater the contamination, the harder it will be to treat that water.

Many people prefer city water because its management and maintenance are in the hands of the city, but it also constitutes a very inconvenient bill. Nevertheless, water is a very important resource and should be regarded as such. Clean drinking water is worth every cent spent on the bill because we can’t survive in a world without water.

Well Water vs City Water: Water Quality

Well Water Quality

When it comes to water quality, well water tends to be fresher and cleaner. Water contained in an aquifer beneath the ground is usually better in quality than surface water or run-off water.

Well water is also rich in healthy nutrients and minerals, which are very beneficial to the body. In essence, well water provides a lot of health benefits and has a better taste.

On the other hand, city water is usually treated with fluoride, chlorine, and other harsh chemicals. These harmful chemicals can pose health risks.

To ensure the quality of your well water is ideal, inspect the surrounding area of your well and get the water regularly tested, for instance, once a year. If anything is amiss and may tamper with the water quality, contact reliable private water treatment services.

City Water Quality

City water undergoes a less desirable purification process than your private well. The added chemicals most commonly used to inhibit the growth of or eliminate microorganisms, heavy metals, and other water contaminants include Chlorine and Chloramines.

These chemical treatments are dangerous for various reasons. For example, chloramine is a combination of ammonia and chlorine, and it’s currently being preferred to chlorine itself for disinfecting city water.

Firstly, chlorination has severe effects on water quality, generating massive concerns. Secondly, chloramine stays longer than chlorine in the water. However, both chemicals are safe in your drinking water as long as they’re present in small dosages.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quality guidelines require city water treatment plants to keep chlorine levels at a maximum of 4mg/L, which is regarded as safe for consumption. Chlorine or chloramine in water causes a pungent odor and strong taste, which are not qualities for healthy water.

Chlorine also reacts with organic and inorganic elements in water to form certain byproducts such as haloacetic acids and Trihalomethane, which are harmful to the body.

The disadvantage of chloramine lasting longer in water is that it becomes more difficult to eliminate, negatively affecting animals and plants, and makes it a breeding ground for cancerous byproducts. In addition, chloramine makes water unfit for fish farming or kidney dialysis equipment.

Well Water vs City Water: Water Responsibility

Responsibility of Well Water

No one, not even the city, is responsible for your private water system, and it’s solely in your hands. This means if your well runs dry, it’s your problem. As long as the well remains on your property, everything from extra drilling, repairs, and even maintenance is solely your responsibility. You’re also responsible for the water quality of your private water source, starting by getting your water tested to ensure that it’s safe for usage or consumption.

Many things can cause contaminants or pollute your well water, including a dead animal falling into your water source, radiation from nuclear power plants, sewage from septic systems, and so on. This is why it’s essential to regularly test your well water to ensure that it’s free from pollutants such as chemicals, heavy metals, and microorganisms because it’s your sole responsibility.

Bacteria can access your well water via shallow walls or damaged castings. However, with a proper filtration system or filtering process, you’re guaranteed to have clean and fresh water running into your home.

Responsibility of City Water

If your home is connected to the city water line, this means the city collected the water, purified it, and supplied it to your home through pipes. It’s the responsibility of the city to supply potable water to your home. This means that you don’t have to saddle yourself with the responsibility of testing your water because the city continually tests your water so that it at least satisfies or even exceeds EPA quality guidelines.

In this regard, city water is more convenient than well water because it’s one less thing to worry about. However, there have been cases where water utility companies have been negligent in testing the water to ensure its safety. Events like natural disasters can hugely contaminate the city’s water. To resolve this, the water, equipment, and pipes need to undergo treatment, and it may take a long period before the water is considered safe for use again.

Well Water vs City Water: Pros and Cons

Pros of Well Water

No Water Bill

Who doesn’t like the prospect of having lesser bills to pay monthly? Having a private water well means one less bill to pay. If you’re using a septic tank or a septic system, there won’t be any monthly sewer bill to pay as well. This is because the water is sourced from your private property, and it’s your sole responsibility. The city has nothing to do with it.

Well Water Is Fresher and Healthier

Well water is sourced from an underground aquifer, not run-offs, making it fresher and healthier. In addition, well water is rich in beneficial minerals and nutrients, which makes it good for the body.

Well Water Is Immune to Contamination from Natural Disasters

Unlike city water, well water isn’t affected by natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. Unless in rare cases where these events are of an extreme degree and widely spread.

Cons of Well Water

Well Water Depends on Electricity

Well water requires an electric pump to bring water to the home’s plumbing system from the aquifer. No electricity means the pump won’t function, resulting in no water running into the home. Getting an alternative source of electricity is one way to ensure a constant supply of well water into the home, but that’s an extra expense.

You Are Solely Responsible for Your Well Water

As discussed earlier, any problem concerning your well water is solely your responsibility because the water system is situated on your property. Therefore, every expense from construction and maintenance to repairs will be from your pocket and can be pretty expensive for one individual. It’s also your responsibility to ensure regular water testing to ensure that it’s safe for consumption or other uses.

Well Water Can Be Polluted

Though it may be safe from a natural disaster, it’s not immune from other pollutants such as radiation, dead animals, sewage, and chemicals. These can negatively affect the quality of your well water.

Pros of City Water

It Is Very Prevalent

Almost everywhere has access or is connected to the city water line. So to start using the city water, all you have to do is request it.

Mortgage Banks Prefer Lending Homeowners Using City Water

The reason is simple. Well water is associated with unpredictability, while city water is more regulated. That’s why homeowners using city water get better mortgage rates than those using well water.

You Are Not Responsible for the City Water

You don’t have to worry about how recently it was tested with city water. But if you’re overly curious, you can simply request the utility company to test your water. However, the city water is frequently being tested by the city to ensure that it stays within or beyond EPA quality requirements. In essence, it’s the city’s job, not yours, to ensure the supply of clean and safe water to your home. In addition, the city adds healthy nutrients to the water to make it good for consumption.

Cons of City Water

It Has Less Quality Than Well Water

City water is sourced from run-offs and surface water, which means it’s more contaminated than groundwater. In addition, the city has to employ water treatment procedures (usually involving harsh and dangerous chemicals), and thus, the drinking water won’t taste as good as well water.

It is Becoming Expensive

Cities are beginning to increase water bills because of increased pollution, making the water harder to purify or filter.

You Have No Control

City water can be turned off (sometimes without prior warning) when you don’t pay your water bill or in cases when the city water facility wants to undergo maintenance. This cannot be very pleasant because it’s beyond your control.

About the Author

Lucas Greer

Lucas vs. Wild - Lucas is a true nature lover and survivalist. When he's not teaching science at school, he can be found in nature, hiking, climbing, camping, and rafting. He knows all the tricks and DIYs for making unclean water drinkable with simple means in an emergency. At school, his students love him for his exciting water filtration projects.

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