It has rained for days, and your yard is soaked with standing water everywhere. You turn on the faucet indoors only to find the water coming out is brown. You shouldn’t dismiss it as simply “cloudy water” caused by the rain. Anytime your water turns colors or tastes different, you need to take it seriously.

While you may not always taste the bacterial contamination, brown-colored water after a heavy rain can signal you may have a contamination problem. Typically, this is caused when surface rainwater infiltrates your well through the wellhead. Basically, instead of pumping clean groundwater, you are pumping water that has runoff from the ground into your well. A worst-case scenario is the brown color may be caused by a nearby septic system that has been compromised and leaking into your well.

Brown water is always cause for concern and must be addressed immediately.

What to do when your water turns brown.


Brownish-colored well water could be caused by a number of things, both inside the pipes and/or in the ground. It’s much cheaper to test your water before calling a plumber.

Here are a few questions to begin troubleshooting.

If ONLY the hot water is discolored, it may be with the hot water heater.
If BOTH hot and cold water are discolored, it could be rust in the plumbing or fixture, but mainly confined to one tub or sink. If the entire home is brown, the issue is coming from the well itself.

If the water supply has been off recently and you turned it back on, rust and debris can be dislodged when water begins flowing through the pipes again. This would typically only last for a short time after the water is turned back on.


Since brown well water could be caused by a number of things, it’s best to eliminate the worst possible cause, then work backwards.

Take a sample of your water to an approved test facility or health department. Call Bedford Well Drilling and we can find one near your location.

A complete water test will determine the source and extent of your problem and possible treatments. Be sure the test includes results for the following:

  • iron concentration
  • iron bacteria
  • pH
  • hardness
  • manganese concentration
  • dissolved solids
  • total coliform
  • fecal coliform
  • e-coli bacteria


A water test will tell you a lot about what may be causing the discolored water. It very well may be water is leaking into your well from the surface due to heavy rain. However, it’s not normal for a properly functioning water well with a fitted cap to be impacted by a heavy rain event.

Rain or snow would reach inside the casing only if the grouting is damaged or the well cap isn’t sealed properly. If rainwater enters your well, bacteria could also get in. A nearby farm or leaking septic system would only make the bacteria problem more pronounced.

Test results will allow you to properly address the underlying issue and help you put your money toward the correct solution.

Contact Bedford Well Drilling if you have any questions about your well or need assistance checking to see if your well has been compromised.