Guide to Protecting & Maintaining Private Wells
Wells tapping ground water resources can provide drinking water of the highest quality. Owning a private well allows homeowners to control their own water supply however this ownership comes with an immense responsibility of maintaining the quality of the well system and making sure to have a well water inspection regularly. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates public water systems, it does not have the authority to regulate private drinking water wells. There are no “experts” regularly monitoring the water quality before it is sent to the tap. It is up to you to take all the necessary precautions needed to establish a healthy water supply. Since a well owner is primarily responsible, it is important to be educated on possible threats to the well system and the groundwater that supplies it.It is commonly overlooked that regular maintenance is imperative in order to protect your water source, a well that is not suitably maintained cannot be expected to produce safe drinking water. Routine annual maintenance and well water inspection will ensure the proper operation of the well and prolong its years of service, as well as monitor the water quality. Every well needs a consistent protection plan to assure the protection of its water quality. It is up to you to take personal responsibility to safeguard the water you use to drink, bathe and prepare your food.
1. Annual Water Testing
You should always have a well water inspection when you are building or buying a new home to determine the wells initial quality. After that, it is recommended that you test annually, at least for bacteria.
In some well systems you may find contaminants that are a result of human activity such as manufacturing, agriculture and individual misuse. Most of the possible contaminants are not detectable by sight, taste or smell. While some quality issues may only be a nuisance to your laundry or household fixtures, others may be potential health related contaminants such as arsenic, lead, copper, nitrates and nitrites or radon. Unfortunately water quality is commonly neglected until problems arise. Every well is unique with its own chemistry, and must be evaluated regularly. Also the water should always be tested when building or buying a new home to determine the wells initial quality. After that, it is recommended that you test annually. If you notice any changes in your water, (odors, color, laundry problems etc.), then you should have a well water inspection.
2. Sanitize the Well
There are numerous contaminants that are naturally occurring and may pose a health risk if found in drinking water. The mostly commonly found contaminant in private well water is microorganisms. Microorganisms put out a direct threat to one’s health and must be killed by chlorinating the well system before any of the well water is consumed. After performing extensive research, ETR Laboratories designed a ‘Well Water Chlorination Kit’. Our chlorination kit is constructed to kill microorganisms as well as other dangerous bacteria using only ingredients approved by the Federal Drug Administration. It’s a “Do it yourself” kit that is safe, east, and fast acting. The kit also includes a free bacteria test, to guarantee that the product did its job!
3. Well Head Check
The first step is to check the outside of the well for any physical defects. A broken or missing well cap or a well casing that is less than 12″ from the ground (preferably 18″) or is located beneath the ground is a concern. Those conditions can allow surface water, insects, rodent and/or debris to enter the well. A good seal on the cap reduces issues. You can tell if the is a good seal if the bolts around the edge are vertical as in the right hand well head below, rather than horizontal like the middle one.
4. Well Inspection
The inside of the well itself should be inspected periodically to ensure tight construction and determine if the equipment is working properly. You can give your well system a basic well inspection yourself by first checking the outside of the well for any physical defects. A broken or missing well cap or a well casing that is less than 12″ from the ground (preferably 18″) or is located beneath the ground is a concern. Those conditions can allow surface water, insects, rodent and/or debris to enter the well. A good seal on the cap reduces issues (We recommend a rubber gasket seal). You can tell if the cap has a good seal if the bolts around the edge are vertical as in the right hand well head below, rather than horizontal.The inside of the well itself should be inspected periodically to ensure tight construction and determine if the equipment is working properly. A thorough well inspection means looking inside with a down-hole, underwater video camera that is lowered into the well. This allows us to diagnose and document the activities within the well with great accuracy.
Keep your well records in a safe place.
Maintain disinfection dates and water test results with other records and information about the well.
A well is an important long-term asset to a home. All information regarding its construction, modification, maintenance and each well water inspection should be kept in a safe place. Well drillers are required to file well logs with the state. The well log gives important information about well construction including well depth, casing, yield, water depth, geologic layers penetrated etc. A copy of the well log and pump information including model and serial numbers should all be kept.