Keep Well Water Safe for Drinking

If you depend on a well to provide your drinking water, it’s in your best interest to ensure that it is safe to drink. Protect your water by scheduling regular checks and maintenance of your well pump and casing to ensure that everything is functioning properly.

Shallow and older wells may have a higher risk of contamination. Wells less than 100 ft deep lack the soil thickness to adsorb contaminants seeping into the ground, while older wells may not have a good seal around the well casing, a watertight cap, or may not have a well casing that extends above ground. These conditions can make older and shallow wells more susceptible to drinking water contamination. 

Locate a copy of your well log

Well logs provide information on geologic formations encountered in a well and list details concerning well design, construction and yields. You can obtain a well log through the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) with an online Log Query (see “Resources”) or contact the OWRD Watermaster’s office. They can help you find your well log and decipher it.

Keep records and a maintenance plan for your well

This should include pump information, maintenance, your well log and any water tests that have been performed.

Make sure your well seal is in good condition

A well should be capped with a seal that protects your well from foreign objects and is screened to exclude insects and small animals from entering. The seal around the casing should be damage free. Water should not pool at the base.

graphic from http://wellwater.engr.oregonstate.edu/well-check-list#overlay-context=septic-systems-0

Store and use chemicals properly

Keep chemicals sealed and away from your well. Mix chemicals, and conduct vehicle maintenance on a cement surface to ensure spills do not enter the soil.

Keep a safe distance between your well and septic system

Wells should be placed at least 50 ft from a septic tank and 100 ft from a drain field.

Ensure that abandoned wells are sealed

Unused wells are essentially pipes that create direct pathways for surface contamination to groundwater. It is essential that old wells have tight, secure caps. Even better, hire a well driller to properly decommission the well to avoid the potential of future groundwater contamination.