What You Need to Know About Your Bedrock Well

Bedrock wells are the most common forms of wells in New England and are known for producing a high amount of quality water. These wells do have their common problems, however. Homeowners with a bedrock well should be aware that in New England, their water is susceptible to a number of water quality problems, some of which can be harmful to their health.

Bedrock wells, also known as artesian wells, are drilled deep below the ground into bedrock, tapping the cracks in the rock that carry water in underground aquifers. The average bedrock well in New Hampshire is between 100-feet and 500-feet deep, but drilling depth can go up to 1,000 feet.

After drilling, a pipe is installed into the bedrock,called a casing, to protect the well from possible contaminants at or near the level of ground water.  A pump is then installed to draw the water to the surface and into the home.

Water Well Regulations

Before you drill a new bedrock well, check with your municipality to see if it regulates location, construction and water quality of private wells. There are no state requirements of private well water quality or quantity in New Hampshire. If you are selling or buying a home with a well, remember that the owner is required to disclose the location of the well, its age, any malfunctions, date of the most recent water test and any problems with water quality that test may have uncovered.

In 1984, the state began keeping records of all new wells. The information is available to the public in an online database. If you want to know about your well or those in your surrounding area, such as how deep they are or of there have been any well construction issues, the database can help.

Possible Water Well Problems

Most bedrock wells in New Hampshire deliver, clean, safe and great tasting drinking water, but the geology of the state and other factors do sometimes lead to contaminants in water. The most common, naturally occurring contaminants are arsenic, hard water and radon. Other naturally occurring water quality issues include corrosive water, iron, bacteria, sand or sediment. You can determine the presence of these contaminants by conducting tests, with which Skillings & Sons can help.

Of course, there is sometimes a risk of man-made contamination, which is why a water quality test is so important every 3 to 5 years, or whenever a change in the water quality is detected. Homeowners with wells should be mindful of the activities on and around their property to ensure the well does not become contaminated. Improperly applying fertilizer or pesticides, inappropriate disposal of motor oil, solvents and other harmful substances, or living close to an industrial area or older gas station could all put your well at risk.

For more information about bedrock well water contamination in your area, contact the NH Department of Environmental Services.

Low Water Yield

Bedrock wells are able to produce a high yield of water, but older bedrock wells can sometimes see a diminished flow due to clogged fissures within the bedrock. Hydrofracturing could be one way to boost yield in both new and older wells. The process uses high-pressure water to flush fine particles and rock from bedrock fractures. By removing these particles, it creates more room for the water stored within the bedrock to flow into the well and eventually into your home. Hydrofracturing does not create new fractures in the rock, it merely cleans debris or enlarges existing fractures.