Learning how to prevent well contaminants from accessing your well is important. It isn’t just about testing the water to make sure it’s safe to drink. The best tactics to prevent well contaminants entering the source occur before the water is in your faucets. If you can prevent well contaminants from spreading pollution by managing the activities that occur near the source of the groundwater, you can protect your well over time.
Use Gravity and Slopes
Sinkholes and the well itself are the two biggest access points for contaminating your well. You’ll help avoid runoff by sloping the area around the well to prevent runoff into the well. It’s important to note that runoff doesn’t need to be from pesticides and chemicals to contaminate your well! Ground bacteria and fecal matter can run into the well when it rains or when water runs off. You’ll keep your well safest when you use gravity and slopes to keep runoff out.
Install a Good Well Cap
Using a good sanitary seal or well cap prevents tampering with the well. Even when runoff approaches, it keeps your well sealed off. Beneath the cap, you should have the right kind of screens for your particular kind of soil and well water. Contractors can help you with these.
Hire Certified People for Any Modification and Construction
You don’t want to accidentally contaminate your own well by doing your own maintenance on it. Even opening up the seal or doing some basic cleaning can introduce new chemicals which can tilt the balance.
What you can do on your own is inspect the well periodically. If there are cracked or damaged pieces of the well, or if you notice any broken parts on the cap or seals, get a professional to check it out.
Select the Right Casing
Your contractor can help you select a casing that will help prevent any material from getting into the well. A casing needs to be strong enough so that you can seal it at the top and support the soil and rocks that press against it. Bad casing can crack and dirty your water.
Don’t Introduce Chemicals Near the Well
Here’s the obvious one. Don’t use pesticides, fuels, fertilizer, or any other kind of pollutants near your well. It’s also good to avoid mixing, storing, or carrying them near your well. There’s simply no reason to take the risk.
You might be tempted to use a dry or abandoned well as a big trash can for waste disposal. But even dry wells can still be connected to the ground water table, and dumping waste or pollutants into them is a terrible idea.
Keep track of the fuel tanks and oil tanks that are on your property. Vehicles, heating oil, and diesel tanks should be inspected to make sure that they aren’t leaking any amount of fluid.
If you suspect that there are activities interfering with your water quality, like new construction or environmental problems, talk to your health department.
During Storms and Floods
Natural disasters can flood your drinking water with new contaminants. While storms and earthquakes can be bad, floods are often the worst offender. They carry massive amounts of new bacteria and chemicals into the groundwater table in ways that are often statistically significant.
When a flood occurs, keep away from the well pump while it is flooded. This can cause a dangerous electric shock. Don’t drink from a well that has been flooded, instead, call a contractor to help clean and disinfect your well right away. After being cleaned, you should be able to pump the well until the water starts to run clean. You should also have it tested for any suspected contaminants. If the water doesn’t begin to run clean, you may need help from the local health department.