Your Well Casing: Too Short or Damaged and Your Water Suffers

You may not give a lot of thought to the casing of your private water well but it is instrumental in providing your family with pure, healthy water. Keeping the casing in good repair is an important part of maintaining good health for your family and pets.

What a Well Casing Is and What It Does

The casing is a tube that provides support for the wall of the well. It keeps rock, sand, soil or gravel from collapsing into the water. It also protects the electrical supply that drives the pump at the bottom. The casing is usually made of metal or PVC. The choice of casing material depends on the acidity or alkalinity of the water and which material will survive better in that location.

A properly-installed casing that is in good condition keeps surface water out of the well. This surface water is likely to be far more contaminated than groundwater, carrying fertilizer, salt, landscaping chemicals and other pollutants.

Many states or local governments have requirements for how long the casing should be. A common requirement for a casing for a well dug into unincorporated materials (such as soil rather than bedrock) is 18 feet. Once the well is dug and the casing is in place, the space between the soil or rock and the casing is filled with grout that may be composed of sand, gravel, cement or bentonite clay, depending on the type of soil in that area.

Damage to a casing can result in these problems:

  • Gradual decrease in water flow
  • Sand, dirt or sediment showing up in the water
  • Need to replace filters more often
  • New contamination of water supply

What If the Well Casing Is Too Short?

Since the purpose of the casing is to keep surface water out, the casing must be long enough to keep out surface water that seeps through the soil and gravel around the well. A too-short casing can be identified by finding bacteria or other surface contaminants such as pesticides or fertilizer in the well water.

Repair will require bringing in a professional well contractor to extend the well casing to a safe depth.

How to Get Your Well Casing (and Well) Inspected

To ensure good quality water for your family, it’s important to have your well professionally inspected once a year. A professional inspector will drop a video camera into the well so they can look at the casing all the way to the bottom.

Damage to the casing can occur from stones pressing on the outside, shifting earth or even lightning strikes. Tree roots can also infiltrate a water well and blasting at nearby construction sites can create cracks in the casing.

To find a competent well inspector, contact your state Department of Health. Also look in the records the prior homeowner provided to see who did earlier inspections. The inspector should not only look for damage but should also perform electrical testing and a flow test.

Test your water quality every year as well. These test results can help you detect new damage to the casing that might begin letting surface water and contaminants into the well. If you live in a snowy area, for example, and your water test shows more salt this year than last, you can suspect cracks in the well casing that admit runoff from nearby roads that were salted.

Your Annual Steps for Keeping Your Water Well Healthy

In summary, here are the essential steps for maintaining a healthy well:

  • Have your well inspected annually to ensure there is no damage to the casing, pump, electrical system or well cap.
  • Test the water quality annually as well.
  • Based on water quality test results, install the appropriate type of filtration or water treatment system to remove the contaminants found in your area.
  • Maintain the filtration or treatment system according to manufacturer instructions.
  • If the water quality, odor, appearance or taste changes, have the water tested again.
  • If there are unexplained or persistent illnesses in the home, test the water.
  • Inspect the well cap frequently to ensure that it has not been damaged and still snugly seals the casing that extends above the ground.
  • Keep the area of the well clear of brush or vegetation.
  • Do not use pesticides or fertilizers within 100 feet of the well.
  • Maintain accurate records of construction, inspection, repair and testing.

These simple steps help you keep pure, clean water flowing all year long! When you need water tests, call us. We will find out what kind of well you have and what problems you may have had in the past so we can recommend the exact right water quality test for you.

Should there be mysterious problems with your well, we have more than 70 different tests we can perform to help you zero in on the exact cause of contamination. We’re ready to go above and beyond to help you keep your private water well healthy. Call us at (800) 344-9977 today.