There are three types of private drinking water wells: dug, driven, and
drilled. See the three links below for an explaination and graphic of the types of wells.
Proper well construction and continued maintenance are keys to the safety of your water supply. Your
state water-well contractor licensing agency, local health department, or local water system
professional can provide information on well construction.
The well should be located so rainwater flows away from it. Rainwater can pick up harmful
bacteria and chemicals on the land’s surface. If this water pools near your well, it can seep into
it, potentially causing health problems.
Water-well drillers and pump-well installers are listed in your local phone directory. The
contractor should be bonded and insured. Make certain your ground water contractor is registered or
licensed in your state, if required. If your state does not have a licensing/registration program
contact the National Ground Water Association. They have a voluntary certification program for
contractors. (In fact, some states use the Association’s exams as their test for licensing.) For a
list of certified contractors in your state contact the Association at (614) 898-7791 or (800)
551-7379. There is no cost for mailing or faxing the list to you.
To keep your well safe,
you must be sure possible sources of contamination are not close by. Experts suggest the following
distances as a minimum for protection — farther is better (see graphic on the right):
- Septic Tanks, 50 feet
- Livestock yards, Silos, Septic Leach Fields, 50
- Patroleum Tanks, Liquid-Tight Manure Storage and
and Handling, 100 feet
- Manure Stacks, 250 feet
Many homeowners tend to forget the value of good maintenance until
problems reach crisis levels. That can be expensive. It’s better to maintain your well, find
problems early, and correct them to protect your well’s performance. Keep up-to-date records of well
installation and repairs plus pumping and water tests. Such records can help spot changes and
possible problems with your water system. If you have problems, ask a local expert to check your
well construction and maintenance records. He or she can see if your system is okay or needs work.
Protect your own well area. Be careful about storage and disposal of household and lawn care
chemicals and wastes. Good farmers and gardeners minimize the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
Take steps to reduce erosion and prevent surface water runoff. Regularly check underground storage
tanks that hold home heating oil, diesel, or gasoline. Make sure your well is protected from the
wastes of livestock, pets, and wildlife.
For additional information see: