Maybe you’ve recently decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city or your crowded suburban neighborhood. Maybe you’ve lived in the country for most of your life. In any case, you now are the proud owner of a home with a well. You take care of your home because of its immense value to you but buried deep underground is your well, out of sight and out of mind; that is until something goes wrong.
Good Well Gone Bad
What can cause a well to fail? The practice of digging wells is a time honored tradition extending back to some of the earliest roots of human history. Still there are many things that can result in bad water coming from a well that once produced pristine drinking water. Pollutants can find their way into your well through a number of sources. Agricultural runoff leeching from the soil into the groundwater, runoff of harmful chemicals, petroleum products and more from roads and roofs, and more can damage the quality of your water. Other human activities such as quarries or mines can also disrupt the natural state of the ground water, affecting the quality of the water at your well’s depth.
Keeping the Water Clean
Many of the factors listed above are out of the control of the homeowner, but there are some steps which can be taken to protect the well from harm. Avoid using bleach or other harsh kitchen solvents, as they can get into your septic system and not only kill the “good bacteria” that helps it work properly but can leech into the groundwater. Instead use alternative cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar, and use phosphate reduced or phosphate free detergents. Also avoid putting anything down the drain which is not biodegradable as it can gum up your system and find its way into the groundwater. This is especially true of unneeded or expired pharmaceutical products. These products will not biodegrade and can cause great harm if they escape into the ground water.
One of the best ways to ensure your well stays well is to invest in preventative maintenance. Many well problems begin as a small annoyance which is ignored by the homeowner. Over time this problem grows into a much larger (and more expensive) situation. This stance is much like neglecting to change the oil in your car, or not taking it to a mechanic for routine inspections, until it finally breaks down. Experts recommend that homeowners have their well system inspected regularly and septic system pumped every 2-3 years. This will keep the entire system running smoothly and extend the overall life of your well far into the future.