Well maintenance key to water quality and health

From www.wellowner.org May/June 2014 Tip Sheet

Water well maintenance can have a direct impact on water quality and, therefore, your health. Here are some tips on well maintenance.

Be observant: The typical well owner does not possess the knowledge or skills to conduct a proper well system inspection but can be observant about changes in the well system. Some changes may be:
*Visible, such as damage to a well cap, leaking or rusting.
*Audible, such as a chattering pressure switch or unusual pump sounds.
*Associated with tastes odors that occurs suddenly.

If you observe something out of ordinary, contact a water-well professional.

Get routine well inspections: It is advisable to have a qualified water well system professional routinely to conduct complete system inspection. Such an inspection should include:

*A visual inspection of the wellhead to verify that it is in a safe location, the sanitary seals are in good shape, the well casing is the proper height, and the ground around the wellhead is sloping away from it.
*Visual inspection of other well system components, such as any above-ground pumping equipment, connections, joint seals, and pressure relief valves.
*Physical inspection of the well system components, such as testing the pump, checking the valves, and electrical testing.
*Visual inspection of other equipment, such as pressure tanks, above- and below-ground storage tanks, the control box and connections, water softeners and conditioners, and filtration equipment.
*Thorough documentation of the inspection.

Well cleaning as maintenance:
Signs that a well may need cleaning are cloudy water; a loss in the gallons of water per minute the pump can supply to the system, taste or odor problems, and a positive bacteriological test for total coliform. Chlorination is not cleaning; it is disinfection. If a well has accumulated debris and incrustation, it may provide an environment that harbors bacteria and impedes effective disinfection. If you experience symptoms such as those described, ask a water well system professional to check whether your well needs cleaning.

To learn more, visit www.WellOwner.org and check out free online lessons and webinars about well maintenance.

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About the Author

Jonathan Miller


Jonathan Miller is the President of Steadfast Inc. DBA Miller Well Drilling. He is a college graduate and holds various licenses in water related fields including NC Certified B-Well and C-Distribution for Water Systems Operations, Certified in Well Drilling and Pump Installation for North Carolina, Licensed and Bonded in Georgia for Pump Installation, NC Licensed Utility Contractor, NC Electrical Contractor SPWP Licensed.


  1. I take pride in doing my own maintenance on things, but sometimes a professional is needed. The other day I did notice that there were some of the things you listed, like visible damage to the cap, so I fixed that as best I could. We are going to call a professional out later to take care of it and make sure it is in proper order.

  2. Thanks for posting tips about well maintenance. As you mentioned, I, as the home owner, am not a well maintenance expert. It is therefore, nice to have some things to watch out for to make sure my well is running properly. I will definitely watch out for rust, but I think I will notice the drop in water quality first.

  3. I agree with your point on how maintenance is very important to water quality. My parents have a well, i hope they use steps like this to make sure their well always stays clean and healthy. I really appreciated your point about calling professionals to come and inspect, sometimes its just less risky to trust in a professional.

  4. We moved to a house with a well. First time well owners. There is a doggie house looking structure covering the well. (Dug well, above water pump, cement cap in place). Is this structure necessary? Or is it purely decorative? We keep finding black snakes in the well. Gross. Can I remove the house or will that make my well freeze in the winter? We live in North GA.

  5. I’ve never had my water source be a well before, but I think it would be cool to have. It sounds a little more complex than I thought, but that’s because I have no experience in it. I think I could get the hang of it. The tips on what to look for in the water was really helpful too. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for the advice about maintaining a healthy drinking supply from a well. My husband and I want to have a well installed on our property this summer, so taking good care of it will be important. After the drilling and installation is completed, I’ll be sure to visually and audibly inspect it every day.

  7. I like your tip to have regular well inspections. Since you’re drinking the water from the well, you want to make sure it’s as clean as possible. Your water won’t be as regulated as the kind you get from the city, so being vigilant about making sure your well is clean and in good repair is essential. Thanks for the article.

  8. I would imagine that making sure that the tank that holds the water from the well is installed correctly would be very important. Once they are in, inspecting them from time to time is very smart, so no problems can happen. I wonder if professionals have a way of inspecting the underground tanks?

  9. How far South in Georgia do you work? I am in Nashville, Georgia. Do you work this far South? We need a second written estimate for the company that is going to help us with a low interest loan to pay for a new well. But I cannot find another company to get a written estimate from so we can get started. I have had no luck finding anyone to help. It is my 53 year old bother, my 82 year old mom and I (I’m 55). We have been out of water since January 3rd. This is the second time in less than a year we’ve lost water. In August last year the pump quit & was out till November when my brother bought a new pump and pressure tank. So, we had water from November till January but no water since then. Everyone has told us we need to drill a new one well. It’s getting old filling and carrying jugs of water every few days. Plus we also look like we’re running moonshine. Thank you for your time in reading my saga. Have a great day!

  10. I have always been curious about how people keep up with their wells. I had no idea that you can tell by the way the water smells or tastes. I assumed that you couldn’t taste a difference. Thanks.

  11. There was no picture of your gravel pack; in southern California, gravel pack does not always stop the sand. The main problem I have with the lakos is the flapper collapses due to insufficient capacity of the separator which allows sand to be sucked in from the bottom. I upsize one size and that stops flapper collapse and the separator still removes most of the sand. Remember, the sub model does not remove all the sand, only 80-85 percent Lakos is overpriced, but not much else out there for down hole use. I have seen flow sleeves, ok for motor cooling, window screen, etc., all are useless for keeping sand out.

  12. I never realized that water pump installation is a key way to maintain key water quality and health. I particularly appreciate your tip to be observant when looking into water maintenance. I’ve also heard that the type of water pump you choose to install can have a huge impact on utilities.

  13. I agree that it is hard without any experience to know what issues could be happening with a well system. I appreciate you listing out the symptoms that could be signs of issues. It helps to know what things to look for that can signify a problem if there are performance issues.