Well Water vs. City Water: The Pros, Cons, and Everything in Between

Well Water vs. City Water: The Pros, Cons, and Everything in Between


Are you considering switching between well water and city water? Buying a new house? Or have you heard about differences in the healthfulness of different water sources?

Over 13 million households in the United States rely on well water versus over 280 million who utilize city water sources.

But what are the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of each type of water?

Read on if you’re interested in learning more about well vs city water and what each source means for your home.

Well Vs City Water: The Basics

Most households in the US are served by city water. This means that the city is responsible for the quality, safety, and maintenance of the water and water system.

City water typically comes from runoff gathered in rivers, lakes, or reservoirs. It is then treated before it is piped into your home.

Well water, by contrast, comes from underground aquifers. Aquifers are reserves of water stored in permeable rock, gravel, or sand.

Aquifers are utilized for household water by drilling down, installing a pipe, and pumping the underground water up into the house.

Benefits of Well Water Vs City Water

There are pros and cons to well vs city water.

Being the responsibility of another entity is one of the biggest advantages of city water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regularly tests city water for over 90 chemical contaminants to ensure its safety.

City water is also treated with low doses of chemicals like chlorine to prevent biological contamination. The reliable safety of city water is its big draw.

Well water, on the other hand, is known to have higher levels of minerals and nutrients than city water. Because of this composition, it also usually tastes considerably fresher.

Using well water also means you have access to your water for free. There’s no premium on your local groundwater, so digging a well means saying goodbye to water bills.

Well water is also more dependable than city water. With a water source on your property, you can’t lose access to it due to changing circumstances in your city, such as natural disasters or emergency shutoffs.


There are a few drawbacks to city water.

While consistent treatment is a benefit to city water, continuous exposure to treatment chemicals (as well as chemicals collected during water runoff) can have questionable consequences for your health. Treatment can also strip the water of nutrients.

Another drawback to city water is that it comes at a cost. Water bills can be an expensive aspect of homeownership.

Finally, city water is controlled by someone else. Issues with the source that are outside of your control will affect you if you’re using city water.

Well water has comparably few disadvantages. One of these is that running the pump requires electricity. If you don’t have a backup energy source or generator, you’ll be out of water in the case of a power outage.

The other notable disadvantage is that you are responsible for the maintenance of the system. However, having a water well inspection is an infrequent matter and is very inexpensive compared to using city water.

City Or Well?

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of well vs city water, it can be helpful to contact a water well company to get more information.

Check out the Home Improvement section of the site for more useful information!

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