What is Artesian Well Water?
Updated: Aug 11, 2020
Artesian well water comes from an artesian well that is bring water to the surface from under the earth's surface. This water source comes from an artesian aquifer that exists below the earth's surface.
What is an Artesian Aquifer?
First of all, lets define what an aquifer is exactly. An aquifer is water that exists deep below the earth’s surface in forms of rivers and lakes that flow between cracks or permeable layers in the rocks. Some aquifers expand over long distances and large depths. However, most aquifers are fairly small and localized. There are a few different types of aquifers that exist below the surface, artesian being one of them. In general, there are 3 types of aquifers: unconfined, confined and perched.
Unconfined Aquifers - Water Table Aquifers
Unconfined aquifers are covered with a permeable layer of rock or sediment and are replenished by rainfall and other surface water. This type of aquifer is also know as the water table aquifer because the top of the aquifer makes up the majority of the water table near the top of the surface.
Confined Aquifers - Artesian Aquifers
Confined aquifers are water sources that are covered by impermeable rock or semi-permeable rock layers. These bodies of groundwater are not replenished by surface water but rather move below the surface from unconfined and confined water sources. The water is slow moving because it does not permeate through the rock layers and often times cannot move at all creating a great deal of pressure. These aquifers are also known as artesian aquifers.
Sometimes this natural pressure forces its way through the rock layers and creates a natural spring or geyser. These artesian springs are found in areas of impermeable sediments and rock. If the rock is too hard for the water to naturally come to the surface it will stay below the surface as a slow moving stream known as a flowing artesian. Accessing this water can be difficult without proper equipment like a drill rig. The drilling rig drills deep into the earth's surface until it reaches the water. The pressure then pushes the water to the surface. This creates a flow of water that can be regulated by a well pump.
Perched aquifers occur where groundwater is sitting above an impermeable layer of unsaturated rock formations. Perched aquifers are commonly seen in glacial sediments.
Where does Residential Drinking Water Come From?
Your residential well water is groundwater that is accessed by a water well system. Artesian usually refers to the water that is pumped from a confined aquifer, but residential water can also draw from anywhere below the surface, including the unconfined aquifers. The city has a water well system that drills into the earth's surface and accesses the artesian water source that exists between a geologic layer of rock. Once the well is drilled the pressure forces the water to the surface and no longer confined under pressure.
The water is no longer naturally coming to the surface as it would with an aquifer under artesian pressure. To keep the water flow consistent a well pump is used to regulate the flow of water.
Should You Switch to Drinking Artesian Well Water?
Artesian groundwater is marketed as spring water that is a healthier, cleaner alternative to regular water. The theory behind this that because this water is from a confined aquifer, it is protected from impurities and naturally filtered. There is a lot of truth to this theory due to the fact that confined aquifers ( not artesian) are being replenished from surface water that could have contaminants or impurities.
Though the artesian well water is essentially naturally filtered, all other water is filtered too by water processing facilities. If you buy bottled water from a company that is claiming their water is naturally filtered you may be paying for something that has the exact same water quality as the next bottle of water, just with a higher price point.
Artesian well water on a private property is naturally filtered but also the well itself needs to be maintained and cleaned to keep the water safe and healthy. Make sure to have your well checked and cleaned routinely by a professional.
Call West Winds Water Well for a well inspection or any other well related questions. 435.660.0342