We all need water to live and thanks to indoor plumbing we are able to do that quite easily. While many homes get it from the city water supply, there are those lucky enough to get it through a well system. Having a private well can mean saving money and having healthier, better water. Of course, there are many things to consider when living on well water.
It is always best to know the area surrounding your well. If any of your neighbours operating on a well face any problems, you should know of them too. Any potential contaminants may leach into your water supply and cause health problems for you and your family. This is especially important to find out if you are moving to a new area. You also need to be aware of where your well is located on your property. It should be at least 15 metres away from any source of possible contamination, such as a septic tank.
You should also know the kind of well you are operating on, as there are three types: dug, driven and drilled. Obviously, dug wells are done by hand using shovels and likely lined with brick or stone to keep it from collapsing. Typically they tap into shallow aquifers. However because they are shallow, dug wells are more susceptible to contamination and may go dry in periods of drought. A driven well is created by driving a small-diameter pipe into the ground, usually sand or gravel. They too tap into shallow sources of water and are about 15 metres deep or less. A driven well is the most economical of the three types and is relatively easy to create. Drilled wells require heavy machinery to tap into deeper aquifers that may be surrounded by harder materials like rock. While they are more expensive, they typically yield a better source of water than the other types of wells do. A drilled well can be 60 metres deep.
Once a well has been dug, it needs to be encased to prevent collapsing. Historically, people would use stone but nowadays we use materials like steel or concrete to keep the well intact. This can mean a lot in how long your well will last and the quality of water you receive. A screen will filter the water through the inlet to keep small particles from entering your supply. A proper seal is important to keep things from falling down into your well. And a gradation of soil around the well will keep water from pooling around the base. Of course, without a pump you would need an old-fashioned bucket to get your water into your house. That pump needs to be working well at all times otherwise you won’t be getting water. You may want to consider having a backup generator on hand for when the power goes out because most pumps run on electricity. No water is no good.
Of course, even if you have water, you need to be sure it is safe to use. So it is incredibly important to test your well water on a regular basis. You will need to test for things like coliform bacteria and nitrates every year. There are some tests you can do yourself, but for some things you may need to contact a specialist. If you do encounter problems, there are some treatments you can do using bleach or filters. However, it is important to know that not all problems can be fixed so easily. Be sure to research the problem efficiently when you get the water test results back.
Regular maintenance is very important for anyone with a well on their property. Keep accurate records of everything you have done. Owning a well is a huge responsibility but can be a good choice for many homeowners.
By: Meagan Dieroff