Seven Tips to Water Well Wellness

old_timey_well1. Let the Professionals Handle It!

Qualified professional water well system contractors use specialized equipment, materials and techniques to keep well systems operational and water supplies safe. Every time a well owner removes a well cap and attempts to service the well in some way, there’s the potential to unwittingly introduce bacterial or other contamination into the well. There’s also the potential for dropping objects (tools for instance) into the well, getting the pump stuck in an effort to replace it or even electrocution when working with submersible pumps.

2. “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”

A small, easily correctable problem becomes a large, inconvenient, much more expensive problem. Treating your water well system this way would be like never having an auto mechanic look under the hood of your car until a catastrophic breakdown.

Few people follow through on their own common sense when it comes to preventive maintenance for their water well system. What makes this doubly important for well owners is that you’re consuming what comes out of that well. It’s a matter of health as well as convenience and cost.

3. Do Your Homework Before Getting Professional Service

A well maintenance check-up should include four components:


  • A. A flow test to determine system output along with a check of the water level before and during pumping, pump motor performance. Check amp load, grounding and line voltage.
  • B. Inspection of well equipment to assure that it is sanitary and meets local code requirements.
  • C. Test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates and anything else of local concern should be performed.
  • D. A concise, clear, written report should be delivered to you following the check-up that explains results and recommendations and includes all laboratory and other test results.

4. Ongoing Maintenance


  • A. Always use a licensed or certified water well driller and pump installer when a well is constructed, a pump Is installed or the system is serviced.
  • B. An annual well maintenance check, including a bacterial test is recommended. Any source of drinking water should be checked any time there is a chance in taste, odor or appearance or anytime a water supply system is serviced.
  • C. Keep hazardous chemicals such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides and motor oil away from your well.
  • D. Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing to ensure it is in good repair
  • E. Always maintain proper separation between your well and building, waste systems, or chemical storage facilities.
  • F. Don’t allow back-siphonage.
  • G. 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.
  • H. Take care in working around your well. A damaged casing could jeopardize the sanitary protection of your well.
  • I. Keep your well records in a safe place.
  • J. Be aware of changes in your well, the area around your well or the water it provides.
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  • K. When your well has come to the end of its serviceable life (usually more than 20 years), have your qualified water well contractor properly seal your well after constructing your new system.


5. Understand the Problem

When your well needs maintenance, have the contractor explain the problem so that you understand it, then explore options for correcting the problem. Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you’re satisfied. Working with your contractor to understand the correct cause or causes of problems can increase your confidence and comfort level in moving forward with solutions.

6. Find Old Wells

Do an inventory of your property to determine if there are any old, unused well systems. Abandoned wells can provide a direct pathway for contamination into the aquifer. Abandoned hand-dug wells not only present a contamination concern, they also can create a physical danger to people who can fall into them. Once a well is determined to have no current or potential future use, a qualified water well system contractor can properly seal it.

7. Before Getting Your Water Tested, Make Sure Your Well System is Clean

A common mistake homeowners make is to test their well water without first being sure the water well system is clean. Testing water from a dirty well can lead to false positives. A qualified water well systems contractor can determine if your water well system needs cleaning by conducting an anaerobic bacteria test, a positive coliform test, or other tests showing an accumulation of debris in the well. Well cleaning must remove debris from the well bottom and may require cleaning other components of the well.