The concept of well stewardship is a simple one. It’s defined as the voluntary actions that you, as a well owner, take to protect your own water supply and it’s quality. Public water systems have the advantage of funding and legislation to ensure their facilities and water supply are healthy and available. As a private well owner, you don’t have those advantages. It’s up to you to be pro-active in working to protect and provide quality drinking water for your family. Educating yourself about what this means is the first step in becoming a responsible well steward.
Here are a few ideas of activities that exemplify good well stewardship:
- Ensure proper well construction – A well constructed according to the regulations and requirements of your local regulatory authority will help avoid preventable water quality issues. Wells constructed by certified professionals ideally are less problematic over the longer term.
- Perform frequent water testing – Water quality changes with time. You can’t handle water quality issues if you aren’t aware they exist. While not required by law in most areas, testing your well will keep you able to react should your water quality change.
- Routine visual inspection – Knowing what your well is supposed to look like, and regularly inspecting it for obvious cracks and leaks, debris, erosion, or anything else that might compromise the well.
- Regular maintenance – Ensuring that you do regular routine maintenance to ensure that your well is sealed and functioning correctly.
There are just a few steps, but even these basic activities can help alert you to potential issues and correct them before they can cause harm.
Another part of well stewardship is to actively protect your water sources where you can. Maintaining septic systems (which are often a source of fecal contamination in wells when not functioning correctly), disposing of hazardous substances correctly, and ensuring proper drainage are all going to assist in keeping your well contamination-free. If you would like to learn even more about good well stewardship, Wellowner.org has fantastic FREE resources for well owners, including maintenance tips, lists of well professionals in your area, instructional videos, and training webinars on important subjects.