The Ultimate Guide to Well Owner Maintenance
By Alisen Boada
As a private well owner, you have greater control over the water entering your home, but this also means you are primarily the one responsible for its maintenance and safety. Proper installation, regular testing, and selecting the right water treatment prevents contamination from damaging your well. These steps will also save you money and keep your water supply safe for everyone who uses it. We’ll cover some essential tips for keeping your private well system in top shape while covering:
How to Check Your Well for Proper Construction and Installation
Poor construction can lead to issues, like sediment and contamination, that can affect the well’s yield and safety. There are a few well components and features you can check to make sure it was built correctly:
How To Protect Well WaterIt’s important to keep the area surrounding your well free from any possible sources of contamination. While states vary in the distance required to create a protective zone, common guidance states:
Avoid using any chemicals within a 100 feet radius of your well.
Consider this your well’s protection zone and don’t use anything inside of it that you wouldn't want to end up in your drinking water. This includes substances like:
Gardening and LandscapingWhen landscaping near your well, take care when performing activities that could damage your casing, like using a lawn mower. Roots from plants and trees can also potentially damage your well casing.
Keep short-rooted plants at least 4 feet away from your well, and larger plants at least 20 to 30 feet away.
Septic SystemsWells should be installed a minimum of 50 feet away from your septic tank and at least 100 feet from the septic system’s drainfield, although these suggested distances can vary among states.
A part of good well maintenance also means taking care of any waste systems you have on your property. Pump your septic system at least every 3-5 years to avoid unprocessed water flowing into the drainfield and potentially reaching your groundwater.
New home additions, like waste or chemical storage, should be built in accordance with your well’s protective zone requirements.
Is My Well Performing Normally?Good maintenance can help sustain the amount of water you are able to pump from a well (also referred to as well yield, flow, or performance).
Well yield tends to decrease over time, especially if it was not initially installed correctly. While decreases in flow are sometimes caused by persistent droughts, more often decreases in well yield over time is related to changes in the well’s water quality.
This can include occurrences like:
How Often Should You Perform Well Inspections?You should give your well an inspection 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.
Your annual water well checkup should include:
Signs You Need a Well InspectionYou should schedule an inspection after any drastic changes in your well’s water quality or flow.
Other signs that your well may need inspection include: