What is a Well System?

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A well system is used to bring water into your house; it is a method of delivering groundwater for drinking, irrigation, and other purposes. A well is a hole drilled into the ground to access water contained in an aquifer. A pipe and a pump are used to pull water out of the ground.

A type of screen is used to filter out unwanted particles that could clog the pipe. Wells come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the type of material the well is drilled into and how much water is being pumped out of the well.

Different Types of Wells: Dug, Spring, and Drilled Wells

Dug wells are generally older wells which have been hand dug to depths around 20 feet. These wells are no longer constructed, and often have contamination issues.

Spring wells are generally older as well. Spring wells are water sources that appear naturally from the ground, and are collected and pumped to homes. These wells are also likely to face contamination issues.

Drilled wells are modern wells which can vary from 25 feet deep to several hundred feet deep, depending on the location of the well. These wells are sealed and should operate in a way that removes possible contamination.

Well Components

Well Casing – a tube-shaped structure placed in the well to maintain the well opening from the target ground water to the surface. Along with grout, the casing keeps dirt and excess water out of the well. This helps prevent contaminants from less desirable groundwater from entering the well and mixing with the drinking water. Some states and local governing agencies have laws that require minimum lengths for casing. The most common materials for well casing are carbon steel, plastic, and stainless steel. Local geology often dictates what type of casing can be used.

Well Caps – placed on top of the well casing to prevent debris, insects, or small animals from getting into the well. Well caps are usually made of aluminum or plastic. They include a vent to control pressure during well pumping.

Well Screens – attached to the bottom of the casing to prevent too much sediment from entering the well. The most common well screens are continuous slot, slotted pipe, and perforated pipe.

Pitless Adapter – a connector that allows the pipe carrying water to the surface to remain below the frost line. It provides ensures that a sanitary and frost-proof seal is maintained.

Jet Pumps – most commonly used pumps for shallow wells (depth of 25 feet or less). Jet pumps are mounted above ground and use suction to draw water from the well.

Submersible Pumps – most commonly used pumps for deep private wells. The pumping unit is placed inside the well casing and connected to a power source on the surface.

Aquifer - an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, rock fractures or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, or silt). Groundwater can be extracted using a water well. Wellhead – the portion of the well casing that extends above the surface of the ground, is capped, and allows access to the well

If you have a private well the EPA recommends testing for total coliform bacteria and nitrates every year. It is also recommended to test for arsenic because it is high in southeastern Michigan.

Importance of Water Quality Testing and Well Inspections

Unlike public water supplies, your well is not tested regularly for contaminants. The responsibility for testing lies with the well owner. The only way to assure safe drinking water for you and your family is by testing it.

If you are buying or selling a home it is important to test the water. In addition, if there is a loan associated with the purchase the lender may have requirements to ensure the drinking water is acceptable.

Routine inspection of a water well system can help ensure it is operating properly, prolong its useful life, and protect your investment. Most importantly, inspections can protect your health by discovering issues that could result in water quality problems presenting a health risk.

If you would like information on the well inspections provided by KT Septic, see Well Inspections.

For more information about well water quality go to: Ohio Watershed Network