Hydrogen peroxide well water treatment for bacteria may not be as popular as other options for the treatment of bacteria-infested well water, but it is just as effective as, say, chlorination or shock treatment and, according to experts, is in fact safer. But why do you need to perform well water treatment, in whatever form, in the first place? The answer is simple: because you don’t want to drink unsanitary water and risk your health.

One of the most popular means of treating well water that is teeming with bacteria is chlorination. Before you head out the door to buy a gargantuan bottle of chlorine and douse your well with it, however, it is best to stick around and find out the downsides this substance has. While chlorination has been around far longer than hydrogen peroxide well water treatment, it is a known fact that chlorine poses a number of dangers. It has become the standard chemical used as the prime ingredient in disinfectants not because it is the most effective but because it is the cheapest.

But through the years, cases of toxic chlorine contamination have risen, creating genuine concern among the public and the scientific community. Further studies have found that chlorine, when it comes into contact with organic material, forms several chlorinate hydrocarbons, which are substances that can seriously harm human cells. According to a manufacturer of water filters, there are now types of cancer associated with chlorinated drinking water.

Hydrogen peroxide enjoys an advantage over chlorine, thanks to its chemical makeup. Hydrogen peroxide does the disinfecting through the application of oxidation, a process that separates oxygen from water. This makes finding—and killing—bacteria present in the water easier and more effective. Chlorine can’t do this, especially for well water, and is limited only to reducing odor coming from sulfur, manganese and iron bacteria.

Now, to proceed with the treatment, make sure you have four to seven gallons of a solution containing 35% hydrogen peroxide, a pair of gloves, and a face mask. Don’t forget that this substance is a very strong oxidant, which means that in can cause burns and blindness if handled incorrectly. Pour it into your well; the amount should be based on the problem’s severity. The more widespread the bacterial infestation, the more hydrogen peroxide you should use.

Once you’re done, run the faucets in your house and check whether the hydrogen peroxide has gone deep into the water system. You can use wood or meat to establish the presence of the substance; the wood or meat will fizz when it comes in contact with water treated with hydrogen peroxide. Close the faucets once you’re sure the substance is present, and wait for at least 20 hours before opening them again to get water to drink. Proper hydrogen peroxide well water treatment solves issues in appearance, smell, and taste. If, after performing the steps mentioned, these issues remain, the problem may be more serious than you thought and may require professional intervention.