The Importance of your Well Log


Knowing historical water testing results can help indicate bigger problems.

Knowing historical water testing results can help indicate bigger problems.

Quick: do you know when you got your last tetanus shot? Can you remember the results of your latest cholesterol test? Keeping track of your health records is a smart idea. And it’s just as smart to keep track of your well records.

Don’t worry! You don’t need a fancy system for filing this information. Any old folder or envelope will do the trick — just make sure you stash it where you can find it easily.

So what goes in that folder or envelope? The first item to include is your well log.

The well log

The name of this document differs across the country. Some states call it a “water well record.” In other states it’s a “drilling report,” “water supply well report” or “well construction report.” Whatever you name it, a well log contains basic information about your well and the ground around it. That includes:

  • A unique reference number that identifies your well.
  • The well owner’s details, including your name and contact information.
  • The well contractor’s details, including the contractor’s name and contact information.
  • The well’s construction details, including the location of the well, the reason for drilling the well, the method used to drill it, its depth and diameter, the amount and type of casing used, the size and type of screen and the type of pump installed.
  • Well testing information and records. After your well is installed, the contractor will test it for production rate, static water level, the distance from the ground level to the top of the water, drawdown and the difference between static water levels and the levels of water during pumping. This information allows you to predict your long-term water yield.
  • Geological formations (clay, sand, gravel, shale, limestone, etc.) encountered during the drilling process and the depth at which they were found.

When you install a new well, either you or your contractor must submit a well log to the state government. You should also keep a copy in your own files.

If you’re buying a new property that relies on well water, you’ll want to check the yield information in the well log to make sure you’ll have enough water to meet your family’s needs. In many states you can access it online.

Other important well records

Once your well is up and running, you’ll start collecting other documents that you should add to your file:

  • Pump installation details. Include the pump installer’s contact information, the date of installation, the pump warranty and your user’s manual.
  • Water quality test results. When you test the quality of your well water — at least once a year! — keep a copy of the test results. Make sure you include the date of the test, the reason for the test and the name of the lab you used.
  • Ongoing maintenance details. Keep note of any repairs or upgrades to your well or pump.

Keep it current

Now you’ve got a system, staying on top of your well’s health is a snap. Just toss in the new paperwork whenever you have testing or repairs done.

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