There are several benefits of installing a private water well. With a private water well, you will be in control of what’s in your drinking supply. While you will have to spend money to have a private well drilled, you will get water free of cost for the rest of your life.

Different sources can contaminate private wells. Toxic materials can be released into a well from materials dumped near it or toxic spills. A contaminated well poses major health and environmental risk. Well owners are responsible for maintaining their wells. If contaminants from your well reach the ground table, you may be slapped with a hefty fine by your municipality.

Common Causes of Water Contamination

Here are some potential sources of groundwater contamination:

  • Runoffs: Nonpoint source pollution in which pollutants seep into groundwater from multiple sources is a major problem. This usually happens when rains or floods move contaminants from one place to another.

Runoff that occurs on the ground surface can carry several man-made contaminants such as pesticides, toxic chemicals, herbicides, and fertilizers. Runoff may also contain animal waste, and harmful bacteria and viruses.

· Septic Systems and Storage Tanks: Storage tanks can corrode and crack and begin to leak. Water from damaged storage tanks can contaminate groundwater. Improperly installed, located, constructed, or designed septic systems pose a threat to water quality as they can leak bacteria, viruses, toxic chemicals, and other groundwater contaminants.

· Landfills: If a landfill near your home does not have a protective bottom layer (or the layer is damaged), it can leak battery acids, harmful chemicals (from industrial and household cleaners), paints, and other contaminants in groundwater. These pollutants may ultimately end up in your water supply.

· Industrial Waste:Industrial waste contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Though wastewater is treated in different parts of the country, our water treatment system is far from perfect. Wastewater contaminated with heavy metals and radionuclides can enter our water supply, contaminating it.

·  Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste: If you live near a hazardous waste site, you need to be extra careful. A hazardous waste site uses barrels and other containers to store waste. If these barrels/containers leak, harmful contaminants can seep into your water supply.

Tips to Prevent Well Water Pollution

Schedule Well Water Tests

We recommend scheduling routine water tests. Have your water filtration system inspected by a professional once a year for bacteria and viruses. Have your well water inspected after these events:

  • Flooding
  • Septic malfunction
  •  Well repair or replacement
  • Construction work

Well water must be tested once a year for total coliform bacteria, and every three years for pH, nitrate, and total dissolved solids or TDS.

Monitor Activity Around Your Well

Sloping the land will help ensure that runoff flows away from your well. Harsh chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides should be stored away from the well site. Be aware of activities such as construction and drilling around your home.

Watch out for water pollutant alerts. Keep an eye on unauthorized waste disposal near your well site. Schedule regular maintenance for your septic system. Pump and inspect it regularly. Watch out for signs of overflow and cross-contamination.

Ensure Your Well is Properly Located

When choosing a location for your well, make sure there are no septic systems, livestock feeding and watering areas, and barnyards within 100 feet. A water well must be located at least 25feet away from any water bodies such as streams, lakes, ponds, rivers or impoundments.

Reduce Dependence on Pesticides

To keep your water supply contamination-free, reduce home pesticide use as they can easily seep into groundwater. Before you know, chemicals from pesticides will end up in your water supply.

Instead of depending on pesticides for pest control, use natural methods to deter pests. Use pesticides sparingly and only as the last resort. Never mix or use pesticides, degreasers, fuels, herbicides, fertilizers and other pollutants near your well.

Make Sure Your Well is Properly Constructed 

An improperly constructed well can result in groundwater contamination. Faulty casings and inadequate covers won’t prevent outside water and any contaminants it contains from flowing into your well.

To steer clear of this problem, make sure the casing is properly grouted or concreted and extends at least 12 inches above the ground. Use approved materials for construction. Make sure your casing is installed to the proper depth.

Inspect Your Well Regularly

Inspect exposed parts of your well regularly. Watch out for signs of corrosion. Look for cracks. Make sure the well cap and casing are in good condition.

Check the sanitary seal and concrete pad (must be at least four inches thick, should extend two feet in all directions around the casing, and should be sloped to direct surface water away from the casing). If they aren’t intact, consult a reputable well contractor. Make sure the well casing is not cut below the land surface.

Have your well inspected by an expert every year. Maintain records of maintenance.

Abandon Wells That Are No Longer in Use

Abandon wells, if any, on your property that you no longer use. Hire a licensed well contractor for the job. Improperly abandoned well can provide a pathway for surface water and pollutants to enter the groundwater supply. Do not put anything down abandoned/unused wells.

Do Not Let Pet Waste Accumulate Near Your Well Site 

Pet waste such as pet hair and feces are laden with bacteria. If these bacteria get into your water supply, you and your loved ones will drink contaminated water. To prevent this from happening, remove pet waste immediately.

Need well pump repair services in Napa County? Look no further than Weeks Drilling & Pump Co. We have extensive experience in installing and maintaining different types of private drinking water wells. We use advanced tools and time-tested methods to address well and pump problems. To schedule an appointment, call us at 707-823-3184.