Thursday, August 8, 2013

Keep your Well, Well!

It’s easy to go about our day and not think about where the water we use comes from. In Thurston County, we drink groundwater and that water comes from either a household, neighborhood or city-owned well.

Well water comes from, groundwater, fed by underground aquifers. When the rain falls, about half of it soaks into the ground and becomes groundwater. The soil does a pretty good job filtering it as it makes its way underground but pollution on the ground can end up in the well.

Steps you can take to protect your well water:
  • Inspect your well casing. Cracks can lead to contaminants making their way into well water.
  • Inspect the cap or cover on top of the well casing.  There should be no openings, including around electric wires. The cap should have a gasket, making a watertight seal.  If you try to wiggle the cap, it should not move.  There should be a goose neck vent, screened with a fine mesh.  
  • Keep the top of your well at least one foot above the ground.
  • Keep animals and their manure 100 feet away from your well. 
  • Keep household and yard chemicals, such as pesticides, auto products, and any other products with words such as caution, warning, danger, or poison away from your wellhead. Do not store them in your pump house or within 100 feet of your well. 
  • Avoid using or mixing fertilizers and pesticides within 100 feet of a well. 
  • Don’t pile leaves, snow, or other materials around your well. 
  • Slope the ground away from your well.  This will help rainwater that may contain surface contaminants (such as pesticides and oil) drain away and not pool around the well. 
  • Have your well water tested for bacteria once a year. Test for nitrate at least every three years, before bringing home an infant, and when a woman living in the home is pregnant, nursing, or trying to become pregnant.

These precautions help keep your drinking water safe and healthy.  These tips can also save money and time by preventing problems that can be costly to clean or repair. We know we need to drink several glasses of water each day, make sure that it is the best water that it can be! 

For more information, visit Thurston County Environmental Health's website.

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