Most private wells have shown, in a recent survey, that they do not meet the same safe drinking standards used for public systems. While the occasional check of water quality is a good practice, it is not enough to ensure a continuous safe supply. Well maintenance and common sense are key to ensuring your water supply. A plan for annual well maintenance should include:
- Check well casings for cracks and leaks.
- Check the well cap for water tightness.
- Be sure the ground slopes away from the well for 15 feet in all directions.
- Shock chlorinate the well and water system with a strong dose of chlorine (500 PPM) flushed through the system and held for 12 hours to kill bacteria.
- Test water for coliform bacteria, nitrates, pH and total dissolved solids.
- Make sure that a protection plan is in place and is being followed.
- Establish a "zone of exclusion" around every well. The zone should circle the well in at least a 100- to 200-foot radius. No buildings or storage of any kind of polluting liquid, even temporarily, should fall within the circle. Dry material storage is also discouraged in this area. (Be sure to check state and local regulations for distance requirements.)
For more information or help in testing your well, contact your local county health department.