March 6 kicked off Groundwater Awareness week in the commonwealth, and while we don’t often think about the importance of groundwater, this week is a good reminder that all of us have an impact on groundwater in some way.
“Regular water well testing is a necessity for private water well users!”
With winter almost over and spring just around the corner, now is the time to schedule your annual water well checkup. Just as you tune-up your lawn mower and prepare the garden for the spring growing season, it is also the perfect time to inspect your well and test the water before the peak water use season begins.
Why is it a good idea to have my water well checked annually?
David Jackson, supervisor of the Groundwater Section, Kentucky Division of Water, recommends an annual checkup by a licensed certified water well driller as the best way to ensure problem-free service and good quality water.
Private well water use is not covered by the protections offered to public water system users under the Safe Drinking Water Act; therefore it is the responsibility of the domestic well user to ensure that their private drinking water source is safe for use. Preventative maintenance usually is less costly than addressing an issue once it has become a problem, and good well maintenance — like good car maintenance — can prolong the life of your well and related equipment. KDOW further recommends you test your water whenever there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, or when the system is serviced.
Schedule your annual water well checkup
Wells can provide high-quality drinking water, and approximately 265 thousand households, representing roughly 6% of Kentucky’s population, receives its drinking water from private wells. But with well ownership comes the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order. A check of your well by a qualified water well contractor may include:
- A flow test to determine system output, along with a check of the water level before and during pumping (if possible), pump motor performance (check amp load, grounding, and line voltage), pressure tank and pressure switch contact, and general water quality (odor, cloudiness, etc.).
- A well equipment inspection to assure it’s sanitary and meets local code.
- A test of your water for total coliform, E. coli bacteria, arsenic, lead, copper and nitrates, and anything else of local concern. Other typical additional tests are those for iron, manganese, sodium, potassium, water hardness, sulfates, chlorides and nuisance bacteria which can cause problems with plumbing, staining, water appearance, and odor.
Water Well Owners Do’s and Don’ts:
- Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a “clean” zone of at least 50 feet between your well and any kennels and livestock operations.
- Maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, and chemical storage areas.
- Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
- Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the well construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
For more information, call:
David A. Jackson or Scotty E. Robertson, Kentucky Division of Water, at (502) 564-3410, or visit the KDOW website at http://water.ky.gov/groundwater/Pages/WellDrillersProgram.aspx