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Getting in Tune with the Source of Your Most Precious Resource: Water
No matter what the official origins, water takes a complex journey to get to our homes. It falls as rain or snow, sometimes freezes before flowing in rivers and streams, gathering in lakes and reservoirs, and eventually filtering down far into the ground where it fills vast spaces, tapped by your well. On the way down, it passes through soil, sand, silt, gravel, and other components of a large natural filtration system. Your well is drilled down to where the water has accumulated, and you have access to a hopefully endless supply of natural, filtered water. The heart of your plumbing maintenance plan is keeping that supply clean and reliable. Making sure that this process results in enough clean water for your household and others who live nearby is an important part of the cycle.
Types of Wells — Dug/Bored, Driven, and Drilled
Your water well may be a shallow dug, bored, or driven well up to fifty feet deep, or a drilled well consisting of continuous casing and possibly thousands of feet deep. This last kind provides a much lower chance of contamination, though plumbing maintenance for it is much more complex than the others, including a pump mechanism far down the well.
Annual Well Water Supply Checkup
An annual well plumbing maintenance checkup helps preserve your access to water. It makes sure that your well is fully functional and well-protected. It also provides a baseline so that, should contamination occur, you have a baseline reference from before it began, and some idea of how long you and your family have been exposed to any contaminants. Some of the tests that should be performed include:
The water well’s pump and motor as well as its capacity to provide a steady flow of water that meets your home’s needs should be tested and documented by your plumber. The age of the components should also be noted, and consideration given to planned replacement. Your home’s water system may include a holding or storage tank that allows the system to maintain steady pressure, so you may not have a good understanding of variations in the well’s flow performance under normal water usage conditions.
Modern technology allows simple inspection of well components and the well’s overall condition. Our plumbers can send cameras into the depths of your well and visually inspect the water level, casing condition, pump status, electrical connections, and more.
Location-Specific Water Quality Test
Using local knowledge to include contaminant tests that may be needed based on local geology, soil content, and known industrial contamination, an annual lab test should be run on water samples. This is to track the water quality not only against EPA and local standards, but against the well’s previous contamination levels to ensure that values are not increasing. If they are, it may be necessary for the plumbing maintenance team to determine the cause in order to correct the problem or consider another source of water if the levels become too extreme. At least once during the well’s lifetime, an arsenic test should be performed.
Direct functional checks of well valves ensures that they meet specifications beyond simply being operational. It is important to for the plumbing maintenance personnel to recognize potential problems with the valves before they need to be replaced on an unscheduled basis.
Wiring, controls, and motors, especially for deep drilled wells, should be intact with an acceptable level of continuity and current leakage.
Wells Don’t Last Forever
At some point, the well’s components and even the casing will age to the point where they need either major repairs by plumbing maintenance professionals or abandonment. The aquifer, especially if it is feeding an increasing level of demand from local development or is receiving less replacement water as drought conditions develop, may no longer support well operation at some point. Catastrophic contamination may also occur and render the well unusable, especially on the shallower well types. In all these cases an alternate source of water will be required, and the existing well will need to be professionally capped. As part of your maintenance planning, plans should be developed for these eventualities.
Keep the Well Maintained and Protected
It’s important to keep wellheads well protected and isolated from agricultural or industrial chemical use nearby and other potential contaminants. This is especially true of more shallow wells, with less natural protection by deep layers of natural filtration. In addition, routine well plumbing maintenance is a very small price to pay instead of facing unplanned water supply disruption, and possibly major costs of replacing components.
Protect the Wellhead
While the well is in operation, there should be a well house or other structure protecting the wellhead to prevent damage to the well and accidental entry of foreign material, especially in times of weather extremes. This also helps the well controls and mechanism to remain reliable and weatherproof.
If You’re Buying a New Home, Don’t Assume Anything About the Well
Private wells are not required to stand up to the scrutiny and standards that public water supplies are subject to. Plumbing maintenance may not be up to standards or even performed regularly. It is up to the property owner to keep proper maintenance in effect and to perform regular testing. When buying a home supplied by a well, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the status of the well, its pump mechanism, and the quality of the water drawn from it as well as the flow rate available.
Your Partner in Well and Plumbing Maintenance and Repairs
bluefrog Plumbing + Drain is your source for in-home plumbing maintenance and water supply management including public water and sewer, well, and septic connections. Let us help you keep your home’s water safe, clean, reliable, and even hot. From water heaters to water filtration systems, we install, maintain, and repair so you can relax and enjoy. Call us!