Most homeowners who draw water from a private well take for granted that when the faucet goes on, water will come. Well systems require minimal regular maintenance, but should be monitored to prevent a small problem from turning into a big one. That’s why we recommend homeowners with private wells bring in a professional to conduct an annual water well checkup.
WHY DO I NEED A WATER WELL CHECKUP?
A properly constructed and maintained water well for home use will provide you with many years of quality water. However, it is not unheard of for problems to arise. The National Ground Water Association recommends routine annual maintenance checks to ensure the proper operation of the well and prolongs its years of service, as well as monitor the water quality.
WHO SHOULD I CALL TO CONDUCT A WATER WELL CHECKUP?
New Hampshire and Massachusetts state agencies overseeing water wells can recommend a certified contractor to perform the checkup and even collect samples for water quality testing. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has its water well checkup page that includes checklists and other resources, including where to find qualified contractors. Or frankly, just call us at 1 (800) 441-6281.
WHAT WILL THE WELL CONTRACTOR LOOK FOR?
An inspection of well equipment to assure that it is sanitary and meets local code requirements. A flow test is done to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping. The contractor will also examine the external components of the well, check the well cover for erosion and any sources of contamination, examine well pits, look at the wiring and other components for rust and deterioration, and look for sources of possible contamination on the property, including possible hazardous materials.
WILL IT INCLUDE A WATER QUALITY TEST?
Both New Hampshire and Massachusetts authorities recommend an annual water quality test of your water for coliform bacteria and nitrates and anything else of local concern. If you have not had a test before, consider including tests for iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides, and other water constituents that cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance, and odor. If you’ve noticed a change in your water quality in the past year, mention that to the contractor and what possible test may also be warranted. Additional tests may be recommended if water appears cloudy or oily, if bacterial growth is visible on fixtures or water treatment devices are not working as they should. Check with the professionals here at Skillings & Sons, the state department of natural resources, or local health department for information on local water quality issues that may have been reported.
ONCE THE CHECKUP IS COMPLETE, THEN WHAT?
The contractor should send you a concise written report following the checkup that explains results and recommendations and includes all laboratory and other test results. Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
HOW OFTEN DOES MY WATER WELL NEED A CHECKUP?
As noted, well checkups should be done every year, typically in the spring after the snow has melted. The timing of the test could be affected by some problems, such as flooding near your well. Consult with your contractor or well company to schedule a good time for the test. Also, call your contractor immediately is you’ve noticed any change in water quality, know of any nearby well water contamination, or noticed heavy construction underway near your home.