What can pollute your well?
Most private wells used for home and farm water supplies are in rural areas, where there is often no mains sewage, mains gas for home heating, and where farming activities are widespread. Potential sources of pollution of groundwater and private wells include septic tanks, slurry spreading, grazing animals and oil tanks.
Siting and drilling your own well
Water wells should be drilled in locations which minimize the likelihood that the well will be polluted by, for example, septic tanks, farmyard runoff or slurry spreading . Modern boreholes should be constructed and completed as a water supply, with full sanitary protection. There are helpful guidelines for siting and constructing your well including:
IGI Guidelines for Drilling Wells for Private Water Supplies (2007); and
EPA Drinking water advice note 14: Borehole Construction and Wellhead Protection.
Testing and treating your well
Although groundwater is generally much cleaner than surface water, it can be contaminated by nearby pollution sources. It is very important to have your well water tested regularly so that you have confidence in its quality and can install a treatment system if needed.
Disinfecting your well
Water wells should be cleaned and disinfected before being brought into use to ensure that any harmful bacteria or viruses introduced into the well during construction are removed, and to make sure that any water samples taken represent the true groundwater conditions. Find out details of how to disinfect your well.