Brita Filters For Well Water: Good or Bad?


Brita is a household name when it comes to water filtration. However, if you are considering using a Brita filter for your well water and want to know if they are any good, then you’ve come to the right place. Well water needs to be filtered properly and, in this post, I’ll detail if Brita filters are good enough.

Brita filters are not good at filtering well water. Brita filters can make well water taste better but will not make it safe to drink and do not remove many harmful contaminants.

If you want to know more about Brita filters and what they can and cannot remove from well water, then read on.

Is a Brita filter good for well water?

If you are one of the 15% of Americans (Ref 1) or 8% of Canadians (Ref 2) that use well water, you will want to make sure that the filter you are using is good enough and up to the job of making your water safe to drink. Well water is not always pure or clean and can contain many contaminants that makes the water taste bad and can be harmful to you and your family.

Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey (Ref 1)

Brita are a common brand of filters that people have come to trust. Brita products are also relatively cheap compared to some of their competitors. But does this mean they are any good for well water?

Brita make five different lines of filters. Replacement filters are cheap and easy to replace – just click on your Brita filter type below to grab one from Amazon.

  1. Brita Standard Filter

2. Brita Longlast® Filter

3. Brita Stream® Filter

4. Brita Bottle Filter

5. Brita Faucet Filter

Let’s go through what Brita filters can and can’t remove:

Chlorine

All Brita filters will remove chlorine. Chlorine can affect the taste and odor of the well water. Chlorine occurs naturally in groundwater and many people also disinfect their well water with chlorine before drinking it.

But yes, the Brita filters will fix the chlorine taste/odor problem.

1, 2, 4 – Trichlorobenzene

The Brita Stream® and Faucet filters remove 1, 2, 4 – Trichlorobenzene, which is an industrial solvent. If you’ve ever heard of benzenes before, you’ll know they have been associated with causing cancer. The Trichloro part refers to three chlorine atoms that are attached to the benzene. Basically, you will only get Trichlorobenzenes in a domestic well from an above ground contaminated source leaching into the groundwater – possibly not something you have to worry about in your area.

Particulates

Private or domestic wells are often high in particulate matter. Particulates in water are anything that is not dissolved. Therefore, particulates travel (as suspended sediments) in the water and can give your drinking water a bad taste or texture.

The Brita Longlast® and Faucet filters remove smaller sized particulates (Class I: 0.5 – 1.0 microns) compared to the Stream® or Bottle filters that only remove the larger particulates (Class VI: greater than 50 microns).

The Brita Standard filter does not carry a rating for particulate removal.

Brita Standard v’s Brita Longlast filters

By far and away the Brita Longlast® filter will remove more contaminants compared to the Brita Standard filter, including:

  • Lead
  • Benzene
  • Asbestos
  • Class I particulates

Both the Brita Standard and Longlast® filters remove:

  • Mercury, and Cadmium

The Standard filter also removes

  • Copper
  • Zinc

All of these contaminants can be found in groundwater. You really don’t want to be drinking any of them at high concentrations. Copper and zinc are the only ones that are good for you at relatively low concentrations.

Nonetheless, if I had to choose between the Brita Standard or Longlast® filter for my well water, I would definitely pick the Longlast®.

However, the Longlast® filter not quite as good as the Brita Faucet mounted filter when it comes to contaminant removal (even though the Brita Faucet filter does not remove mercury or cadmium).

Other contaminants

The Faucet filter is the only Brita filter that removes:

  • Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) – found as solvent or refrigerant that are often carcinogenic
  • Atrazine – common herbicide
  • Lindane – typically used as an agricultural insecticide
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE) – type of solvent
  • Giardia – microscopic parasite

Any of these contaminants can be found in your well water. They are not typically found naturally in groundwater and are usually associated with a man-made contaminant source. But of course, there are a few exceptions:

1. Trihalomethanes do occur in nature. However, high concentrations of trihalomethanes occur as a result of the chlorine disinfection process used for municipal drinking water.

2. Giardia can come from animal waste (including humans). However, if it’s detected in your private well water then it most likely came from a contaminant source such as a broken sewer line, sewage overflow or from agricultural runoff (Ref 3).

Microbiological contaminants

Microbiological contaminants include:

1. Bacteria – Brita filters do not remove bacteria. In fact, there are no filters that can remove bacteria, but there are a few purification systems that can kill them. Read more about it in our post: Filtering Bacteria From Water Which Filters Can You Trust.

2. Protozoa and Cysts – The Faucet filter is the only Brita Filter capable of removing protozoa, such as Giardia. The Faucet filter can filter things 0.5 – 1.0 microns in size – small enough for removing Giardia and cysts.

3. Viruses – Brita filters do not remove viruses. However, if you want to read more, you can get a ton of information on viruses from our article: Water Filters that Remove Viruses And The Ones That Kill Them.

Summary

So, you can use Brita filters with well water, but the real question is should you use them for well water.

Does Brita make well water taste better

There a several things in well water than can make it taste bad.

In the table below you’ll find some of the most common taste complaints people have around well water and what causes them.

TasteCause
SmoothCalcium
BitterMagnesium
Iron
Copper
SaltySodium
Rotten egg (sulfur)Hydrogen sulfide produced by sulfur-reducing bacteria
ChlorineChlorine (naturally found in groundwater)
MetallicZinc
Iron
Manganese
Copper
Earthy or MoldyAlgae
MedicinalCopper
SweetLead
OilySulfur-reducing bacteria
Oil
Gasoline
Dead animal

Chlorine

As mentioned previously, all Brita filters can remove chlorine.

Well water with as little as 1mg/L (or 1ppm, or 0.0000083lb/gal) of chlorine can give the water a bad taste or smell (like a chlorinated swimming pool). If you want to read more about removing the chlorine taste from water, read more on this post we wrote here.

Particulates

Many of the minerals, salts and metals in the table above can travel as suspended particles and, depending on their size, can be removed by the Brita filters.

Remembering that the Longlast® and Faucet filters carry the smallest micron rating (Class I: 0.5 – 1.0 microns), they will be superior at improving the taste of your well water compared to the Stream®, Bottle or Standard filters.

Will a Brita filter make well water safe to drink?

Safe drinking water in the U.S. is defined by the EPA in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which covers water used for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene. However, private wells that service less than 25 people are not regulated by the SDWA.

This means it is up to you to regularly monitor the microbial and chemical contaminant levels in your well water to make sure it remains safe.

So, are Brita filters good enough to make well water safe to drink?

Unfortunately, NO.

Brita filters remove many harmful contaminants, but unfortunately, they cannot be relied upon as the primary filter to make your well water safe to drink.

Do Brita filters filter out arsenic?

Arsenic is a contaminant that is of greatest concern for residents with private wells in the U.S.

Arsenic can come from natural sources such as erosion of natural deposits and from runoff from man-made sources (Ref 4), including:

  • Glass, paints, dyes, metals, soaps, and drug productions
  • Electronics and semi-conductor production
  • Pesticides (such as chromated arsenicals used in wood preservation)
  • Agricultural farmland (e.g. orchards)
  • Mining or smelting

Arsenic in drinking water should be no higher than 10 parts per billion (ppb). This is equivalent to an Olympic sized swimming pool containing just 2 drops of arsenic! This standard is set by the EPA, although ideally you should aim for arsenic contaminant level of 0 ppb. You can find more information about arsenic from the EPA’s arsenic fact sheet (links to EPA fact sheet).

Removal of arsenic from drinking water

According to the CDC (Ref 5), effective removal of arsenic from private well water can be achieved through:

  • Reverse osmosis
  • Ultra-filtration
  • Distillation, or
  • Ion exchange

Brita filters DO NOT filter arsenic.

Summary

If you are using a Brita filter to make your water taste better and to remove contaminants, make sure you replace your filter early and often! The level of contaminants in private wells can vary GREATLY depending on where you live.

If contaminant concentrations are high in your well water, the lifespan of your Brita water filters will be quickly reduced, possibly putting the health of you and your family at risk.

Overall, I would put the faucet mounted filter ahead of all the other Brita filters as it can remove the highest number and type of contaminants compared to the others.

If you use a pitcher or dispenser then the Longlife filter is the better option over the Standard filter in the Brita range.

However, after going through all the stats in the Brita range, they are not my first choice. If you want the BEST water filter pitcher for well water, then I’d highly recommend you check out this article we wrote.

Using a private well for drinking water is one of the greatest feelings!

But it’s important you regularly monitor and test the quality of your well water.

If you’re looking for a professional laboratory-based well water test, MyTapScore are my #1 choice for well water testing.

They provide amazing customer service!

After you receive your test kit, you send off your samples (shipping is free) and within about 5 days you’ll get your comprehensive water quality report.

If you want more information, click on the MyTapScore link below for water tests for wells and springs.

References

Ref 1. https://www.usgs.gov/mission-areas/water-resources/science/domestic-private-supply-wells?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

Ref 2. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/water-talk-information-private-well-owners.html

Ref 3. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/disease/giardia.html

Ref 4. https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations

Ref 5. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/disease/arsenic.html

Looking for more information about Brita products? – Check out these great articles!

Green Brita Filter Water – What Is It And Is It Harmful?

Brita Water Bottle Filters – Do They Actually Work?

Do Brita Water Filters Soften Water?

Can You Put Boiling Water In A Brita Filter – Or Does It Damage It?

Black Brita Filter Water – What Is It And Is It Harmful?

9 Reasons Why Your Brita Filter Is So Slow? And How To Fix The Problem

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