Well Water Users Have Fewer Water Quality Concerns Than Those Relying on Municipal Water, Consumer Opinion Study Shows

June 20, 2019
Study also reveals well water users are more likely to have in-home water filtration

Americans whose households rely on well water are far less concerned about the quality of their water supply than those using municipal water, according to the 2019 WQA Consumer Opinion Study.  The study also shows more well water drinkers consider in-home water filtration a necessity rather than a luxury.

The independent survey, offering a look into Americans’ attitudes and concerns about their water, was conducted by Applied Research-West, Inc., in January 2019. It is the seventh time in 15 years that the Water Quality Association has commissioned this professional opinion research team. 

Three-fifths of the people on well water said they consider their water safe (60%), versus half of the respondents on municipal water. Almost one-third (31%) on well water have little concern about their water, while 23% on municipal water have little concern. 

The study also showed that 53% of those on well water consider a water filtration system a necessity rather than a luxury, compared to 43% of those on municipal water.

Because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Water Drinking Act regulates public drinking water systems but not private sources such as wells, WQA recommends that homeowners with well water have their water tested yearly for bacteria and contaminants. The EPA recommends yearly tests for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH levels. In addition, consumers should check with the local health department to see if other common local contaminants should be checked. Some states may mandate testing for certain contaminants, according to the National Groundwater Association (NGWA).

Consumers could consider more frequent testing if the household includes higher risk populations such as small children, elderly adults or pregnant or nursing women, and the EPA recommends immediate testing if there are known problems with groundwater in the area, the area has experienced flooding or other disruptions, any part of your system has been repaired or replaced, or consumers notice a change in the water’s color, odor or taste.

WQA’s Consumer Opinion Study presents the findings of a national online survey conducted between Jan. 1 and Jan. 30, 2019. A total of 1,405 adults over 18 and living in private households were interviewed. ARW used a random sampling procedure, and the survey results are accurate within +/-2%. The results are representative of all U.S. adults over 18.

In addition to the public summary, WQA offers more detailed study results to its members.

WQA is a not-for-profit trade association representing the residential, commercial, and industrial water treatment industry. WQA’s education and professional certification programs have been providing industry-standardized training and credentialing since 1977.  The WQA Gold Seal certification program has been certifying products that contribute to the safe consumption of water since 1959. The WQA Gold Seal program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).       

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