Protecting Your Ground Water
There are several measures people can take to ensure their ground water sources are maintained in the best possible manner. In conjunction with an annual visual inspection, a number of basic steps should be considered to prevent potential well problems.
What steps should I take and what should I look for?
Site the Well Properly: A well should be located on properly drained ground, avoiding low-lying areas where surface water or runoff is likely to accumulate around the wellhead. If standing water occurs adjacent to a well it will often seep through the soil around the well casing and enter the ground water. Wherever possible, the well should be located away from potential sources of contamination. If your well is in close proximity to septic tanks/fields, barns, feed lots, rock outcropping, sink holes, landfills, quarries etc., there is a higher possibility of contamination in your well.
Well Construction: The area around the well should be built up with good clay soil and sloped away from the well to prevent the accumulation of runoff. Pipeline trenches to the well should be mounded with dirt or clay. In addition, the well casing should extend upward above the ground to allow for appropriate sloping of the site. Proper well construction should also include sufficient grouting between the hole and the casing with a waterproof material, watertight well casing, and a well cap that is waterproof and secure. Tight well caps will guard against water and prevent bugs, mice or other creatures from infiltrating your well. The use of a pitless adapter to connect the well to the distribution system is necessary to provide a sub-surface sanitary connection.
Well Casing/Cribbing: Small creatures can enter a well through tiny openings if your well is not sealed above water level. Corrective steps should be taken if heavy rusting or cracking is visible. Openings for electrical conduits entering the well should be properly sealed.
Trees: Tree roots seeking moisture can enter a well through cracks and joints, thus providing a passage for dirt and bacteria to enter the well. The best prevention is to ensure that trees are at least 15 metres (50 feet) from your well.
Abandoned Wells: Deserted or unused wells are a major source of contamination and constitute a hazard to public safety. These wells should be properly sealed. Further information on well abandonment is available at: Well Decommissioning and Test Hole Abandonment
Testing Well Water: All wells should be routinely tested to ensure that contamination has not occurred. Contact the public health office in your health region for health concerns related to well water. Water testing can be coordinated through your health region or by contacting the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory in Regina (787-3131). Other valuable information on water quality for private water supplies is available at: http://www.saskh2o.ca/WaterInformationFactSheet_Drinking_Private_Health.asp