Several steps can be taken during the planning, construction, and operation of a well to protect it from contamination and ensure the water is safe to drink.
- At the planning stage, it is important to identify potential contaminant sources (such as septic systems, oil tanks, farmyards, and manure spreading activities) and keep the well away from these sources and upgradient from them, if possible.
- During well construction, it is important to follow local well construction regulations (if applicable), including the use of proper well construction materials, proper well design, and a licensed well contractor. Well construction features that help reduce the risk of contamination include adequate casing, annular seal, and a sanitary well cap.
- Once the well is in operation, it should be regularly maintained (e.g., the casing and well cap should be routinely inspected to confirm they are in good condition), and the water should be regularly tested. Well owners should also maintain their septic system and keep contaminant sources away from their well. This includes ensuring that petroleum, paints, and household solvents are properly stored and kept away from the well, and lawn fertilizers, pesticides, and de-icing road salt are not applied near the well. If water treatment equipment is used, it should be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and tested regularly to confirm it is providing effective treatment.