Household water well inspections important to water quality, health

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WESTERVILLE, OH -- National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 10-16, 2013, is a good time to schedule a water well system inspection to assure proper well operation, prolong the well system’s life, and monitor groundwater quality, the National Ground Water Association and its 48 affiliated state organizations said today.

“Water wells are expertly engineered systems that, like a car, need to be examined periodically to make sure they are in good operating condition,” said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens. “When water well owners stay on top of their well system’s maintenance, it reduces risks to their water supply and their health.”

NGWA and its affiliated state organizations said the inspections should be done only by a qualified water well system professional. Following are the main areas of a water well system inspection.

The water well system professional should:

(1) Visually inspect the wellhead to —

  • Ensure proper location in relation to flooding, potential contamination, physical dangers, and geological or geotechnical hazards
  • Determine if its elevation is above any surrounding contamination sources
  • Make sure the ground directly surrounding the wellhead slopes away from the well casing to keep runoff away from the well
  • Verify that the well casing above the ground surface is the proper height and in good condition
  • Ensure the well cap and well seal are in good shape 
  • Document any other variables that have the potential to adversely affect the well system or the safety of persons servicing the well

(2) Visually inspect well system components, principally aboveground pumping equipment and related parts, for —

  • Loose connections
  • Proper joint seals
  • Adequate function of gauges and pressure relief valves
  • If one is used, proper operation of the water meter

(3) Conduct a physical inspection or test of well components, including —

  • Testing the pump
  • Checking valves
  • Testing the electrical components
  • Examining any water storage tanks for microbiological contamination, physical security, and sufficient seals to prevent insect, animal, or bird intrusion.

Other well system components that should be visually inspected include, but are not limited to, pressure tanks; booster pumps; liquid level control devices; control boxes and connections; water heaters, softeners, conditioners; and filtration equipment.

Upon completion of the visual and physical inspection of the water well system, a written report should be provided to the well/property owner detailing the system specifications observed. The report may include proposals for remedial or rehabilitation work for the water well system. The report should include a schedule for routine inspection, testing, cleaning, or rehabilitation based on the results of the inspection, regulatory requirements, and the professional judgment of the inspector.

To learn more about water wells including construction, maintenance, water testing and treatment, and groundwater protection, visit the NGWA Web site, www.WellOwner.org.

NGWA, a nonprofit organization composed of U.S. and international groundwater professionals — contractors, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, and engineers — is dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge. NGWA’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association that advocates the responsible development, management, and use of water.

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