The UConn Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) has developed a Rain Garden smart phone app that is now available for download from iTunes. The app...
“My favorite thing about Skaneateles Lake is tubing because I think tubing is very fun.”
– Jeremy C., 3rd Grade Student at State Street Elementary
“My favorite thing about Skaneateles Lake is how it is so beautiful and it is so beautiful because the water uses the reflection of the sky, which makes it crystal, sky light blue.”
– Ian D., 3rd Grade Student at State Street Elementary
How Well Do You Know Your Drinking Water Well?
Unlike municipal water supplies, tap water from private wells is not tested routinely by a regulatory agency, so water quality must be monitored by individual efforts. Private drinking water wells require diligent inspection and maintenance by homeowners. There are three main factors homeowners should consider regarding drinking water well management.
First, you must know your well location including the well depth. On the surface, know where your well is in relation to potential pollution sources such as septic systems, agricultural runoff and road runoff. Ideally, your well should be placed upslope of any sources of pollution so that storm water runoff (water running off the land) drains away from your well. If your well is located near the surface (less than 20 feet deep), there is an increased risk for contamination from surface runoff as there is a shallower layer of soil above the well for water to filter through. Deeper wells should still be located upslope of areas of surface pollution, but it is important to note that pollution can travel through deep ground water and influence the quality of your water.
Second, you should know the age, type of well, and the condition of the casing. Wells older than 50 years are typically shallower than newer wells. The condition of pumps and casings deteriorates over time leading to pump oil leaks and cracks. In short, wells require maintenance and should not be considered permanent structures. Every 10-15 years, your well should be inspected by a certified well driller or pump installer. If you have a dug well or sand-point well, it is likely your well is shallow and vulnerable to contaminants. If you have a drilled well, it is likely the well is deep enough to help prevent contamination from surface runoff.
Finally, check your property and make certain that if there are abandoned wells, they are properly capped. If these wells are not sealed, they allow contaminants a direct route to groundwater. These old wells could be polluting the water you drink from your current well!
Each of these considerations is important for your own well, but also for your neighbors well. Groundwater is a shared resource and each citizen must do their part to protect it. Creating a well maintenance plan helps to protect your drinking water quality and identify potential problems early to keep your family, neighbors and friends healthy! Additionally, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends that households with private drinking water supplies get their water tested for harmful bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids and pH at least once a year.