by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation
Well maintenance is an important part of protecting groundwater. For a private well owner, understanding and practicing the basics of regular well maintenance can reduce the risks to the water supply as well as money by preventing costly maintenance issues.
Here are seven ways to maintain your well:
1. Never try to service your own well.
2. Regular maintenance costs less.
It's much better to catch and address a small issue with a well system early before it turns into a much larger and much more expensive issue.
3. Learn what a well check-up or service should include.
A well maintenance check should include a flow test to determine system output (along with a check of the well's water level before and during pumping, pump motor performance, and general water quality), an inspection of the well equipment, and a test of the water for bacteria and nitrates (and any other potential contaminant of local concern). You should also receive a written report detailing the check-up that explains results, recommendations, and test results.
4. Maintain your well on an ongoing basis.
Check out this Homeowner Checklist from WellOwner.org for ways you can protect your well and groundwater every day - doing things like keeping chemicals far away from your well, sloping the ground away from your well for drainage when landscaping, and keeping your well records in a safe place.
5. Use qualified professionals.
When your well needs attention or inspection, find a qualified professional to do the job. Use this handy tool to find a certified contractor near you.
6. Ask questions and understand the problem.
Don't be afraid to ask questions of the well contractor. It's their job to help you understand what's going on and help you find ways to correct the issue. You'll get a better understanding of how your well system works and what happened to cause the problem in the first place.
Abandoned wells should be properly sealed by a professional - not only do they provide a direct pathway for contaminants to enter an aquifer, they're also a safety issue, particularly abandoned hand-dug wells that are large enough to fall into. Find out more about old, unused wells.
Find out more about wells and well maintenance, and remember that maintaining a private well is the well owner's job!
Adapted from WellOwner.org.