If you own a private well, keeping your water well system maintained is very important. Knowing and practicing the basics of regular well maintenance can reduce risks to your water supply and prevent costly and inconvenient breakdowns.
In addition to annual inspections, following these best practices will protect you (and your wallet!)
- Always use licensed or certified water well drillers and pump installers when a well is constructed, a pump is installed, or the system is serviced.
- Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well.
- Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair.
- Always maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems or chemical storage facilities. A professional well contractor knows the rules and can help you with this.
- Don’t allow back-siphonage. When mixing pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals, don’t put the hose inside the tank or container.
- When landscaping, keep the top of your well at least one foot above the ground. Slope the ground away from your well for proper drainage.
- Take care in working or mowing around your well. A damaged casing could jeopardize the sanitary protection of your well. Don’t pile snow, leaves, or other materials around your well.
- Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, as well as annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
- Be aware of changes in your well, the area around your well, or the water it provides.
- When your well has come to the end of its serviceable life (usually 20+ years), have a qualified water well contractor decommission it after constructing your new system.
- Perform annual well maintenance checks, including a bacterial test. Drinking water should be checked any time there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or when the well system is serviced.
WellOwner.org contains much more information about water well maintenance, such as well disinfection, working with contractors, what to do with old, unused wells, what to expect during an annual inspection, and more.