|An average leaky faucet can waste up to 2000 gallons of water a year.|
Private well owners are responsible for making sure their well water is safe to drink.† Private drinking water wells are not required to be tested on a routine basis as are public water supplies.† Many substances that can be found in well water and that can affect drinking water quality have no taste, color, or smell.† The only way to know if they are present is to have the water tested each year.
Know what kind of well you have and its location on your property.Knowing the type of well that you have (drilled, driven or dug) can help you understand its potential risk for exposure to contaminants. Location is important and is dictated by state and local regulations. †A key factor in this decision is proximity to any potential source of contamination. †As a homeowner, you can help protect your drinking water by reducing exposure to harmful practices near your well.
Annually have your well water tested.Remember that a private well is not monitored or tested by any public entity.† It is the responsibility of the homeowner to test the water to ensure that it is safe to use. Annual testing for certain parameters will help assess the overall quality of your water and will help you monitor changes that may occur over time.† This will enable you to act on problems or potential problems more quickly. In addition, you should have the water tested any time that you notice a change in the taste, odor, or color of the water or if you become aware of a potential exposure to a contaminant.† Check your stateís annual testing recommendations with the link below.
Remove debris and brush from around your well.Debris and brush around the wellhead can attract rodents or other animals.† These animals may burrow in or around the well and cause problems with contamination.† You want to keep the area around your wellhead free from debris, brush, or any structures that may attract animals.
Prevent water from pooling around the well.Divert water away from the well to prevent the pooling around the wellhead.† Surface waters have the potential for harboring contaminants which could enter your well if the well casing is cracked or compromised or if the well cap is not properly sealed.† Water pooling around the wellhead can also lead to flooding of the well, which can cause problems with bacterial contamination and turbidity.
Repair cracks in the casing or cap immediately.Keep the well in good repair.† A faulty well can allow surface water to reach groundwater without filtering through the soil.† Casings or caps can be damaged by contact from machinery (lawn mowers), tools, etc. or through acts of nature (tree branches hitting well cap, frost heaves, etc.)† Periodically check the condition of the cap and casing to protect the quality of your well water.†
Maintain your septic system, have it inspected and pumped regularly.A faulty or failing septic system can result in the introduction of pathogens (disease-causing organisms) and nutrients into groundwater.† This groundwater may be the water that provides you and your neighbors with your drinking water.† Therefore, a well maintained septic system can protect the water that you drink.† The septic tank should be inspected every year or 2 and pumped as necessary. http://www.uri.edu/ce/wq/RESOURCES/wastewater/Onsite_Systems/index.htm
Keep pet waste and dog runs away from the wellPet waste can introduce pathogens (disease-causing organisms) and nutrients to surface water (which can enter a compromised well from the cap or casing) and groundwater.† Regularly pick up and dispose of pet waste and do not kennel a dog or any other pet over or near the well.
Donít fill equipment with or store fuel near the wellFuel contains harmful chemicals which can pollute groundwater.† If spilled or leaking, fuel can leach into groundwater and enter drinking water wells.
Do not apply fertilizers and pesticides near the well.Use care when applying pesticides and fertilizers to lawns and gardens, particularly near the well (better yet, avoid use entirely if possible).† These products contain chemicals and/or nutrients that can contaminate well water and threaten human health.
Abandoned wells should be sealed.An unsealed, unused well can be are a prime entryway for contaminants.† If not in use, a well should be sealed by a licensed or certified well contractor.
Properly dispose of household hazardous waste.Many products used in the home (cleaning, polishing, etc) and in the yard (gardening, auto care products) contain chemicals that can be harmful to our health.† If they enter the groundwater, through improper use or disposal, they then could have a direct route to our bodies through the water that we drink.† The best ways to prevent this are to purchase products carefully (buy non or less toxic products, buy only what you need) or dispose of excess product through Household Hazardous Waste collection (link to hot spot text with web listings?) days or sites.†
Underground Storage Tanks.Underground storage tanks used to store gasoline, home heating fuel, or other products are a potential contamination source to groundwater.† If these tanks leak, products can move through the soil and eventually get into the groundwater resource.† Often a leak is not detected until the groundwater is contaminated.† If you have an underground storage tank on your property, it is best to remove that tank and install an above ground tank with proper leak containment back up control.†
State well siting and construction regulations may contain setback distances that wells should be from potential sources of pollution.† Check with your state drinking water agency regarding these regulations and setback distances.