contaminated, brown water coming out of a faucet

Is Oil Leaking Into Your Well Water?

Private well systems provide a broad array of benefits to homeowners and commercial property owners who prefer or need access to an independent water supply. However, many critical legal and environmental factors must be taken into consideration when installing, maintaining, and using your private well. It is particularly important to account for and be observant of any underground oil tanks that are located near properties that use a private well system. 

Let’s take a closer look at the hazards of oil-contaminated well water, some red flags to look out for, and what to do when and if you determine that oil is leaking into your supply of well water.

The Dangers of Oil-Contaminated Water

Cancer-Causing Chemicals

If you are only slightly concerned about the prospect of consuming oil-contaminated well water, consider the potential dangers that this would pose to your family — some of the chemicals found in underground oil tanks can cause cancer and other serious health issues.

Are You at Risk?

If there’s even a slight chance that you are dealing with an underground oil tank leak on a property that also has a private well system, you should strongly consider having your well water professionally tested. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends getting your well water tested regularly if you are concerned about potential exposure to toxic chemicals. 

Practice Due Diligence

If you want to practice some due-diligence before pulling the trigger on well water testing, look out for these three red flags that could indicate you are dealing with oil-contaminated well water:

3 Potential Signs of Oil-Contaminated Well Water

Strange Taste or Odor Coming From Your Water

An unpleasant taste or odor coming from your well water is always something to be concerned about, but it is especially concerning in well systems located on properties that also contain (or are located near) an underground oil tank. If your property has an underground oil tank that is on the older side — or if your oil tank could potentially be damaged due to recent construction or some other reason — and you notice something yucky about the taste or smell of your water, this is a huge red flag that indicates the need to test your water for oil contamination. 

Oddly-Colored Groundwater or Tap Water

If you notice an unusual color in your well-sourced tap water — or even in the groundwater on certain areas of your property — you may be dealing with an underground oil tank leak. Any discoloration of your tap water has the potential to be seriously problematic, and if you notice that textbook oily film on the surface of puddles on your property (particularly areas near the site of the underground oil tank), this is another sign that you may need to seek testing and treatment for your private well system. You’ll know for sure that there is a leak if everything near the tank’s burial site starts dying or losing its natural color, along with the other signs mentioned.

Dead Vegetation and/or Dark Soil in Area of the Tank

Some common things to look out for in this regard are dead grass, wilted plants, and dark or discolored soil. If you notice any or all of these things happening, and you are also dealing with any of the other red flags mentioned above, you will almost certainly want to schedule well water testing as soon as possible. 

What to Do if an Oil Tank Leaks Into Your Well Water

If you are certain that you have oil in your well water, there are a couple of things you should do once this is confirmed by a water test. Your first order of business is to find a temporary source of water for drinking, bathing, cleaning, and pretty much everything else you need water for. The next step is to treat the water in your private well system to ensure that the issue does not persist moving forward, once the underground oil tank is repaired or removed. And as we just mentioned, you must also address the source of the contamination — your underground oil tank — directly, by promptly removing, repairing, or replacing the leaking tank. 

You should learn more about how to address a leaking underground oil tank if you’re still unsure about what you must do in order to fix the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

Turn to a Trusted Professional to Address Oil in Well Water

If you’ve done all of your due diligence and are ready to address an oil-contaminated well system, there’s no better team to turn to than the experts at Paramount Well Service. Our licensed contractors bring years of experience and expertise to each well that they service. To learn more about your options for addressing an underground oil tank leak on a property that depends on access to clean well water, contact us today to request a consultation so we can start working on an ideal solution for your unique circumstances as soon as possible.