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Is Your Well well?

2010 October 14

Click for links to your states website15% of Americans rely on private wells for their daily water needs.  Private well water quality is the responsibility of the homeowner and is not regulated by the EPA; however, there may be state or local laws that apply so check for those, too. It is important if you are using a private well to have your well water tested for quality. Once a year it is recommended that you test for total coliform bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH level. Depending on where you live you may want to test for other contaminants. Visit your state’s private well web site to find more information.
 Testing well water is an important practice for private well users but equally important are prevention practices. Some useful things to keep in mind about your private well:
• Septic tanks should be at least  50 feet away from the well and depending on the hydrogeology of the site , 100 feet might be recommended
• Minimize the use of pesticides and herbicides on your land
• Do not dispose of household and lawn care wastes near your well
• Regularly check underground oil and gas holding tanks; these tanks can leak into your drinking well
• Ensure your well is protected from livestock, pet and wildlife waste
• Make sure well casings are at least 8 inches above the ground and a sanitary well cap is used at the top of the casing.
Visit the American Groundwater Trust. It is an organization that has been around since 1986 and educates people about maintaining and testing their ground water wells. The Trust has a very informative website with many useful resources.
Also check out the Mid-Atlantic Master Well Owner Network for information on proper construction and maintenance of private water systems in Pennsylvania and throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Do you get your water from a private well? Share some things to watch out for or problems you have encountered and what solution worked best for you.
 Read more information on private drinking wells.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010

    Interesting article and one which should be more widely known about in my view. Your level of detail is good and the clarity of writing is excellent. I have bookmarked it for you so that others will be able to see what you have to say.

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  2. November 12, 2010

    A very informative post for those who uses private well at home. It also educates and give us awareness that private well should be tested for bacteria.

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  3. July 9, 2011

    We are fortunate in the UK not to have many properties that are not on the mains water supply but this is very useful information for anyone living off the grid

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