A modern well is simply a hole drilled into the ground with a lining known as a casing. A well casing prevents the bored hole from collapsing. The casing is sealed at the ground level to prevent contaminants from entering at the surface. The well casing also acts a housing for the well pump which is lowered into the bore hole.
After the well installation is complete, it is usually pumped in order to “develop the well.” During the initial pumping, the output or yield of the well is determined by measuring the gallons per minute. The measurement is taken over the course of an hour or more. This is a simplistic explanation of a well and there is a lot more that goes into developing well. However, there are at least 5 things every well owner should know. I know that’s’ why you’re here, so let’s get to the point…
What Every Well Owner Should Know
- On a regular basis submit a sample of your well water to a testing lab. It’s very inexpensive to test for particle and contaminant levels. In addition, you can watch for any changes in the color, odor or taste of the water.
- Be aware of any new industry or agriculture operations nearby, or if there is any new construction going on. Any of these factors could cause potential threats to your water.
- Filters? If you are thinking about a water filter; there are many types of well water filters to choose from. Sometimes you may have several in-line filters with the first being installed directly at the pump. These are sometimes called pre-filters. A second filter may be installed at the inlet pipes to the house. And finally, individual filters may be installed at each point of use, such as the kitchen sink.
- How much water do you need? This is determined by how you use your home and property. Whether it’s to be used as a horse or agricultural property or simply a personal residence. The number of people, toilets, sinks and water using appliances are the most important variables used to calculate how much water you need. The production of the well must meet or exceed that demand. If you’re buying an existing home, be sure to look for water holding tanks. If you see a water tank it’s a good indication the well can’t keep up with demand. By having a water storage tank, the well pump runs even when there’s no demand for water and fills the large holding tank. The holding tank can then deliver large quantities of water when needed (up to the capacity of the tank.) The rule of thumb for water usage suggest a family of four requires at least 5gpm to live comfortably. Others may state, a well producing as little as 1.5 gpm can meet the same demand with wise conservation.
- Permits, always ask the seller for copies of the well drilling permit and the well driller’s report. This report will tell you the well depth to water, the depth of the well, and the how many gallons per minute the well can produce. Also request copies of all water quality test reports too. You should also contact the company that installed the well and get their opinion of the local area regarding the quality and production of wells in your area. Also be sure to check the public records for permit records and all other information.
Water wells are the primary source for domestic water in rural areas of Shasta County, CA. There are several competent and respected drillers in our area should you need a well tested or repaired.
Congratulations, after reading this brief article, you already know more than most people about wells. As is true with most things in life, there’s always more to the story. Therefore, you’ll find resources for additional information listed below.
By: William Parsons, real estate broker and licensed as a California Contractor in 1979.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): phone 202-260-5543. Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 800-426-4791.
NSF International: phone toll-free in U.S., 800-NSF-MARK; otherwise 734-769-8010. For questions on consumer products, call 877-867-3435. To get The Consumer’s Guide to Safe Drinking Water, which lists the water-treatment units tested by NSF and the contaminants they remove, send $7 to NSF Inter-national, Consumer Affairs Office, P.O. Box 130140, 789 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0140.
Natural Resources Defense Council: phone 212-727-2700.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): phone 888-INFO-FDA.
International Bottled Water Association (IBWA): its members (accounting for 80% of the water bottled in the U.S.) must test annually for contaminants and are open to unannounced inspections by NSF. Phone 703-683-5213 or its information hotline at 800-WATER11.