How to Clean Sediment Out of a Well – Everything You Need to Know

The presence of silt, dirt, sand and other types of sediment in your well water can be very off-putting. Not only does it make your water look dirty and unappealing, but sediment in your water can also lead to serious clogging issues, as well as unnecessary abrasion damage and wear throughout the various fixtures and appliances in your home.

Cleaning sediment helps protect everything from your hot water heater to your shower head to your garden hose from damage. If you are wondering how to clean sediment out of your well, we can help!

Before After Sediment Water

In most cases, the easiest solution for removing sediment from your well water is to lift the well pump higher and away from the floor. If you are uncomfortable doing so yourself, you can always contact a well driller to take a look at the pump and determine whether or not its position is causing the problem.

You, or a professional well specialist, can also attach a specialized screen to the top of the pump, which will help filter out and remove some of the sediment from the water before it has the chance to reach your fixtures, appliances, and water treatment system.

What if That Doesn’t Work?

If you have raised the pump away from the floor of the well and attached a new filter screen to the top of the pump, but your water still contains sediment, you can invest in a device known as a centrifugal sand separator or spin-down filter. The centrifugal sand separator is between the well pump and the pressure tank.

It removes sand as well as other types of sediment by spinning the pumped water quickly. The spinning motion helps to separate the water from any debris pulled up through the pump. The sediment-free water then flows upwards to your pressure tank, and the sediment is either released to the bottom of the well or collected for removal.

Inlet Outlet Water System

Common Causes of Sediment in Well Water

Now that we have explained some of the quickest and easiest ways to clean sediment out of a well, we will cover some of the most common reasons why the issue occurs in the first place.

The Well Pump is Positioned Too Deep

If your well suddenly starts pumping sediment and this has not been an issue before, the pump may have dropped. When the pump drops, it is too close to the floor. Although your well may be filling with sediment, most of the time, sediment in the water indicates that the pump sits too close to the bottom.

Most well pumps will sit at a minimum of 10 to 20 feet higher than the floor of the well; however, if the pump is positioned lower than this, or it has accidentally dropped lower, it could begin pumping various types of sediment from the base of the well. The lower your well pump sits, the more grit and sediment will get drawn in with the water.

If you have an older well, it is also possible that the well shaft has begun to fill with so much sediment that the base of the well has risen. In this case, you would also need to have the pump raised. If the base of the well has risen substantially, you may need to have the entire well re-drilled by a professional.

The Well Casing Has Degraded and Needs to Be Repaired or Replaced

When your well was originally drilled, the exterior walls were lined with casing. This casing protects the well shaft and prevents it from collapsing in on itself or having excess debris fall into the well. Regardless of the build material, the well casing allows water to flow into the well from the surrounding groundwater reservoirs while simultaneously keeping out as much sediment as possible. This protective casing is also known as the well screen.

If your well pump has suddenly started to pull up sediment with your well water, it is possible that this protective well casing has degraded, split, or, if used metal, it may have corroded. Regardless of the cause, if your well casing cannot keep silt, sand, and other types of sediment out of your well shaft, it will start to appear in your well water.

Your Well Pump is Too Large and Powerful for the Size of Your Well

If your well pump is too powerful for your particular well, it can begin to pull in sediment from outside of the well shaft. Once enough of this sediment has collected on the base of the well, the well pump will start pulling it up with the well water.

While your well pump should have been sized correctly when the well was first drilled, it may not have. If this is the case, your well shaft will need to be re-drilled and expanded, or you will need a less powerful well pump.

Should You Have Your Well Water Tested?

If you notice that your well water is filled with sediment and has a dirty or muddy appearance, you may want to have it tested. Brown water is never a good sign.

Testing the water supply will allow you to check for the presence of harmful chemicals and dangerous levels of manganese, iron, and other elements. Well water tests will also check the water for harmful bacteria.

While your water treatment system should filter out these harmful substances, it is never a bad idea to test the water if you notice a significant change in the appearance, taste, or smell of your well water.

Well Pump

Final Words

If you want to clean sediment from your well, it is important to do the basics: test the water, determine the cause, and have any component of your well system that is causing the problem replaced by a professional.

Keeping sediment out of your water system is incredibly important. While it may not seem like a major issue, preventing sediment from flowing through your well system prevents abrasion damage from appliances like your toilet, drain, shower, and other plumbing fixtures and keeps your drinking water quality where it should be!

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