Two Keys To Protecting Water Wells From Contamination
North American Precis Syndicate
Leaving an abandoned well uncapped could cause a "hole" lot of trouble for homeowners. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—Over 15 million U.S. households rely on private,
household wells for drinking water, the Centers for Disease Control and
If your family is ever among them, you should know how to protect your
water quality. Two of the most important considerations are a proper well cap
and plugging any abandoned wells on your property, advises the National
Ground Water Association.
Why Cap A Well
If an active water well is not capped properly—or
if an abandoned well is not plugged properly—it can be a direct pathway
for contamination from above the ground to groundwater used by well owners
Private well owners are responsible for making sure their wells are
properly capped and any abandoned wells on their property are properly
What makes for a properly capped water well? Not
just any covering will do on top of the well casing, that vertical pipe that
extends above the ground in a water well. A proper
well cap should:
• Be bolted or locked, so it cannot be easily removed
• Have a rubber seal to prevent anything from infiltrating the well
where the cap is joined to the well casing
• Be in good condition.
A well cap that lacks a rubber seal or is cracked or otherwise broken can
allow bugs, vermin, bacteria or other types of contaminants above the ground
surface into the well, while even a tight-fitting well cap that is not bolted
or locked can be jarred loose or removed by someone other than the well
Well caps should be installed by a water well system professional and any
well cap maintenance or replacement should be done by a professional. Also, a
well system should be disinfected when a well cap is installed, repaired or
How To Plug An Abandoned Well
It can sometimes be a challenge to find abandoned wells on your property.
Some abandoned wells are less obvious than others. Look for:
• Pipes sticking out of the ground
• Small buildings that may have been well houses
• Depressions in the ground
• Concrete vaults or pits
• Out-of-use windmills
• Additions to an old home that might cover up an abandoned well.
Old, abandoned wells can also be found by consulting your neighbors and
old maps, property plans or property title documents. A water well system
professional may do additional checking—including a records check—for
more information about abandoned wells.
To properly plug an abandoned well, the professional should:
1. Remove all material from the well that may hinder proper plugging
2. Disinfect the well
3. Use a specialized grout that both keeps surface water from working its
way into the borehole and prevents water from different levels in the
subsurface from mixing.
How Much Will It Cost?
This depends on several factors including the depth and diameter of the
well, the geology of the area and the well’s accessibility and
Visit www.WellOwner.org for
further information about protecting groundwater and water well maintenance.
There, you’ll find:
• Webpages on well maintenance and
• Online lessons and webinars
• A well owner app and corresponding online well owner’s
• Access to a monthly Private Well Owner Tip Sheet.
These resources and more have been underwritten by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency in cooperation with the Rural Community Assistance
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)