Well Maintenance & Tips
Maintenance, along with proper location and construction, is essential
to ensuring your drinking water is safe. Guidelines for maintaining your
well can be found on the Water Systems Council fact sheet, Wellcare®
information for you about Well Maintenance (2 pages, pdf).
Contamination of well water supplies generally occurs when polluted
surface water or septic system discharges seep into the groundwater. However,
human activity also can play a role in unnecessary pollution. Practices
such as yearly checkups, regular testing and keeping household contaminants
and farming chemicals a safe distance from water supplies greatly reduce
your risk from drinking potentially unsafe or unhealthy water.
Wellowner.org provides a wealth
of information for consumers about their water wells including well maintenance,
water quality, homeowner's checklist, well logs and more. Also,
the McHenry County Health Department offers an online brochure.
web page provides important information on how to avoid water-related
hazards plus much more for seniors and those with compromised immune
The following tips can be used as a guideline to help ensure your private
well is properly maintained:
- Keep contaminants away – Avoid mixing, using
or storing hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides,
motor oil, gas, weed killer and other pollutants near the well. Home*A*Syst
offers a book that is available online titled, Home*A*Syst:
An Environmental Risk- Assessment Guide for the Home, which provides
in-depth information on environmental health risks in and around your
home. Also included in this book in the drinking water chapter are action
steps on how to keep your well water safe. Another online publication
offered on the University of Illinois Extension's web page is, 57
Ways to Protect Your Home Environment (and Yourself), which includes
six chapters on how to protect your drinking water, including information
on knowing when and how to test your water and the signs of contamination.
- Don't allow back-siphonage – Use back flow
prevention devices (available at local hardware stores) on all outside
faucets with hose connections to help keep pollutants from back siphoning
into the hose.
- Visually inspect exposed parts of the well –
Make sure there are no cracks or damage to the well casing or well cap,
and the well cap fits tightly. Also, ensure the area around the wellhead
slopes away from the well, and is free of leaves, grass and other debris.
The Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals (IAGP) offers
Well Owner's Guide online, which includes checklists, tips, and
information on well records. Homeowners can also call toll- free at
800-990-2209 for assistance.
- Seal abandoned wells – Abandoned and improperly
constructed wells can be sources of potentially polluted groundwater,
which could make your drinking water unsafe. The University of Illinois
Extension offers an online publication, Sealing
Abandoned Wells (4 pages, pdf) that describes the risks and guidelines
on sealing wells.
- Conserve and protect your water - Water conservation
is becoming an ever-growing necessity throughout the world today, as
the availability of drinking water constantly diminishes through things
such as drought, contamination and an increase in population. Conserving
and protecting this limited resource is essential in ensuring an adequate
supply of water for all your needs as well as for future generations.
For tips on how to conserve water at home, visit Illinois EPA's Citizens'
Information Center and the American Water Works Association's, Waterwiser
web page. Also, check out U.S. EPA's "WaterSense:
Efficiency Made Easy"
- Test, test, test! – Remember, private water
well owners themselves have the primary responsibility to test
well water for potential contaminants.