Question: If you’re among the 38%, what can you do to ensure your well water is safe and contaminant-free?
Answer: Quite a lot, actually.
While we’ve come a long way since the hand-dug wells of Egypt
and other ancient civilizations, modern wells are still susceptible to a range of issues that may affect the quality of your home’s drinking water.
1. Check your well for proper construction and installation.
While you’ll definitely be in a pickle if your well was originally constructed in a poor fashion, it’s important to first determine whether you’re at risk of water woes due to the nature of your well’s installation. There are a few matters to check for here. First, the casing of your well should be capped off by a sanitary seal/concrete cover
that stands approximately 12” above ground. This keeps unwanted pests and surface water out. Second, you’ll want to make sure that your well was installed a minimum of 50 feet from your septic tank
and at least 100 feet from the septic system’s drainage field
, although these distances can vary depending upon state regulations. Finally, the ground surrounding your well should slope away from the well in order to prevent water pooling.
2. Clear the area around your well.
It’s important to keep the area surrounding your well free of undesirable elements, including fertilizers, pesticides, motor oil, and general debris. Any of these examples—including other forms of waste—can contaminate your well if used or stored in close proximity.
3. Perform Regular Well Inspections
You should give your well a close look at least once a year, even if you know your well was properly constructed. Over time, cracks and other forms of corrosion can occur that compromise the integrity of your well and the quality of your home’s drinking water. If you observe that there may be an issue, or if it has been over three years since a professional has inspected your well, contact a contractor licensed to perform well inspections.
4. Close off any wells no longer in use.
Improperly abandoned wells pose a threat. Those that have not been sealed off can act as a surface water conduit that might contaminate groundwater. Wells no longer in use can be correctly sealed by a licensed well contractor before they are abandoned.
5. Test your water, things change!
Even if your well has been properly built, placed, and has passed all inspections, it is still important to test your drinking water. Off-the-shelf at-home water tests are not usually complete, but they can be useful initial screens, especially if you know what to test for. SimpleWater’s Tap Score is developed with private well owners in mind. Tap Score tests for lead, arsenic, nitrate, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and other known well-water contaminants. We test for over 100 contaminants and then provide you with a personalized water quality report, complete with actionable recommendations.