Annual Checkup

Schedule Your Annual Water Well Checkup
Wells tapping ground water resources can provide drinking water of the highest quality. Owning a private household-supply water well allows homeowners to control their own water supply. Ownership also comes with the responsibility of keeping the water well in good working order.

Why Is a Checkup Important?
A properly constructed and maintained household-supply well will provide you with many years of quality service. We recommend routine annual maintenance checks to ensure the proper operation of the well and prolong its years of service, as well as monitor the water quality.

What Does a Checkup Involve?
A licensed and/or certified water well contractor should conduct your routine well checkup.

Click HERE to see what our Water Well  Tune-Up includes.


How Do I Arrange for a Checkup?
Priceless Water Well Services can perform a checkup for you.

Other steps to maintain your water well:

  • Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well, and maintain a "clean" zone of at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) between your well and any kennels or livestock operations. Also, always maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems, or chemical storage areas. Your professional water well contractor is familiar with the applicable local codes.
  • Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out insects and rodents.
  • Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, and annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
  • Get your water tested anytime there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or anytime the system is serviced.


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Homeowner's Checklist

A Homeowner's Checklist from your Water Well Professional
Properly constructed private water supply systems require little routine maintenance.

These simple steps will help protect your system and investment:


  1. Always use licensed or certified water well drillers and pump installers when a well is constructed, a pump is installed or the system is serviced.
  2. An annual well maintenance check, including a bacterial test, is recommended. Any source of drinking water should be checked any time there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or anytime a water supply system is serviced.
  3. Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides, and motor oil far away from your well.
  4. Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing (well) to ensure it is in good repair.
  5. Always maintain proper separation between your well and buildings, waste systems or chemical storage facilities. Your professional contractor knows the rules.
  6. Don't allow back-siphonage. When mixing pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals, don't put the hose inside the tank or container.
  7. When landscaping, keep the top of your well at least one foot above the ground. Slope the ground away from your well for proper drainage.
  8. Take care in working or mowing around your well. A damaged casing could jeopardize the sanitary protection of your well. Don't pile snow, leaves, or other materials around your well.
  9. Keep your well records in a safe place. These include the construction report, as well as annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
  10. Be aware of changes in your well, the area around your well, or the water it provides.


When your well has come to the end of its serviceable life (usually more than 20 years), have your qualified water well contractor properly decommission your well after constructing your new system.


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Water Pressure

GOT A TRICKLE? CHANGE IT TO FULL FLOW
Have you ever had your shower reduced to a trickle because someone started the washing machine or turned on the dishwasher? This nuisance happens because your private water well system or utility pipeline doesn't have enough water pressure.

You don't have to coordinate your shower with household errands. What follows is information about water pressure that can solve your dilemma. It is one you want to take seriously because constant water pressure not only makes life more comfortable, it aids water softeners, iron removal devices, and other equipment in working more efficiently and helping provide you with safe, potable water.

Facts:


  • Water flows out of taps because of pressure in the water system. For most well systems it is a well pump that provides the pressure that makes the water flow.
  • Different pumps have different flow capacities, as the overall rate of flow is directly related to the pump capacity. If your household has a 10-gallon per minute demand, there will be trickling water if the pump will only supply five gallons per minute.
  • A pressure tank in a water system is designed to have extra gallons of water on reserve so small demands don't require the pump to switch on. An example is turning on a faucet for a few seconds to get a glass of water. However, the tank cannot compensate for flow greater than the pump capacity.
  • If you receive your water through a utility pipeline, your location and the age of the utility can impact water pressure. If you live near the end of the line or if the utility's infrastructure is old, you may have to install your own booster pump and pressure tank.


SOLVING THE PROBLEM
The system first needs to be checked that it is working properly. If there is adequate pressure in the tank, hard water could be causing the decline in pressure. A buildup of scale can cause increased friction in the pipes and hamper water pressure. If installation of a device is required, there are three solutions. Each are described here:


  • A constant pressure valve can be installed between the pump and the pressure tank. It will automatically adjust flow from the well pump to a preset pressure. It is relatively easy to install and a good, economic solution. It will solve many problems. However, it does not increase the flow rate greater than that of the pump.
  • Additional pressure tank capacity can be added to meet high demands for water that are in excess of the pump's capacity. Ensuring that two tanks and the existing pump will work compatibly will require a professional, but this will aid in the short-term demands. However, it will not permanently solve the problem of the shower, dishwasher, washing machine, and other heavy appliances all running at the same time.
  • The pump can be replaced with a variable speed pump. The motors of variable speed pumps can run up to two times faster than those with constant speeds. The speed of it is regulated by the demand for water. A device measures the demand for pressure, and adjusts the pump's flow rate. Some variable speed pumps have a slow startup, which eliminates power surges and reduces torque on the pump and well piping.
  • Please remember safety always comes first and that installation of valves, tanks, and pumps is not for amateurs. Contact Priceless Water Well Services if you are having a problem with water pressure or something else within your system.         


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Restoring Flow through Water Well Rehabilitation

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW 
The situation is not always bleak when a household water well fails to produce the amount of water that it did when it was first installed. Instead of the expense of abandoning the well and installing a new one, a professional contractor can often “rehabilitate” the well and restore flows that provide enough water for all of a family’s daily needs.

What does a contractor base the decision to rehabilitate a well on? Several factors are involved, including the ground formation that the well is drilled in, the construction of the well, and the problem that has caused the decreased flow. Sometimes, the water table in the area has dropped and simply drilling the well deeper is the answer.

The following are more answers to questions concerning well rehabilitation.

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF WATER WELL REHABILITATION CAN WORK?
A professional contractor can do tests to see if rehabilitating measures will be successful. The well will often be shut off for 24 to 48 hours to see if the static level – the level of the water table in a well when the pump is not operating – returns to or gets near the original level. If so, rehabilitation will usually work.
Before starting the project, contractors will often lower a downhole video camera into the well to make sure no other problems will be encountered.

WHAT ARE SOME REASONS FOR DROPS IN WATER PRODUCTION?
Along with the water table dropping, which has happened in several parts of the country because of droughts, there can be other reasons for reduced productivity.

The most common is the plugging of holes along the well’s casing and incrustations forming on the well screens. The amount of water going through the well system will drop significantly if several holes or portions of the screens are clogged. Calcium carbonate, iron bacteria, silt, clay, and “slime,” a combination of sediment and deposits, are all common well cloggers.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE METHODS USED TO REHABILITATE A WELL?
Two typical methods are (1) using chemicals to dissolve the incrusting materials so they can be pumped from the well and (2) cleaning the well with a brush that can be attached to a drilling rig and then used in the well. High pressure jetting, hydrofracturing, and well surging are procedures in which water is injected into the well at extreme pressures. Contractors will often use a combination of these methods.

WHAT CHEMICALS ARE PUT IN THE WELL? IS IT SAFE?
For iron bacteria and slime, a liquid bacteria acid is effective. For clogs with carbonate scale, sulfamic acids are used with inhibitors and modifiers. If the bacteria problem is persistent some of the more aggressive chemicals are muriatic acid and hydroxyacetic acid.
The chemicals are placed in the well and agitated frequently for 24 to 72 hours. The well is then pumped with water before a water test is given to see if the well system is ready to be put back in service.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIGH PRESSURE JETTING, HYDROFRACTURING, AND WELL SURGING?
High-pressure jetting features a tool with an adjustable, multi-head, water-powered jet that lowers into the well and injects water at a high pressure, dislodging debris from the well.

With hydrofracturing, water is sent into the entire well at an extreme pressure. The water removes debris from the clogged perforations in the casing and can crack the formations underground to create new sources of water.

Well surging is the repeated injecting and flushing out of water in a well system. With repeated flushing, the debris is washed away.
For more information on rehabilitating a water well system, contact Priceless Water Well Services.


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Iron Biofouling/Iron Bacteria

Click HERE to see a picture of iron bacteria on our Tales From the Field Page.


What Do You Want to Know? 
Q: What is the "iron bacteria" problem?
A: Better described as iron biofouling, the problem popularly known as "iron bacteria" is both complex and widespread. Iron and other biofouling consists of biofilms which include living and dead bacteria, their sheaths, stalks, secretions and other leavings, and embedded metal hydroxide particles. "Iron bacteria" is one type of biofouling among several, including the characteristic white sulfur slime of sulfur springs.??Manganese and even aluminum biofouling is also found in ground water systems. These biofilms are natural and usually harmless. Natural iron biofouling often acts as a preliminary iron filter in wells and therefore can serve a positive function as well.??Biofouling can be a nuisance, however. Generally, iron biofouling is the cause of iron build up in wells and pipes. Bacterial iron may build up quickly compared to mineral encrustation. In addition to causing problems in wells, the bacteria may colonize tanks and water treatment devices, as well as spring outfalls.??Iron biofouling generally causes side effects such slight and intermittent sulfide odor, and breakthroughs of red water. It may also cause pitting-type corrosion of steel and iron.??Features of water systems may aggravate certain symptoms. These include inappropriate well, filter, or plumbing design or material choice; construction; poor choices in water treatment; and well use patterns.

Q: How does biofouling and its control affect water treatment?
A: Bacteria, oxidized iron and manganese, sulfur, and other slimy products are slow killers of resin beds and many iron/manganese removal and filtration devices. Biofilms overwhelm and defeat carbon filters–even "bacteriostatic" types and bactericidal resins. They also attack or plug reverse osmosis membranes and cartridge filters.

Aeration-type or redox-media, backwashable, iron filters tolerate biofouling pretty well and make good screening filters for most water systems, small or large. They have to be designed and maintained well, taking the biofouling in consideration including making sure the backwash is effective in removing most of the accumulated iron debris in the filter bed periodically.

Q: When is the best time to cleanup a biofouling problem such as iron bacteria?
A: The best time, obviously, is as early as possible before real damage occurs and treatment methods are most effective. This is usually long before noticeable plugging, loss of efficiency, and other gross symptoms become noticeable. The key to catching a growth before it causes problems is preventive monitoring, starting when the well is new, or at any favorable point. This advice also applies to private water and monitoring wells.

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Old, Unused Wells



Click HERE to see us plugging a large well on our Work page.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Each parcel of land has a history as old as the earth and sky. It is common for properties to have had many owners through the years. Among the land use changes that may have occurred is the construction of one or more water wells. Wells may have been constructed by drilling, augering, jetting, or even by digging a hole or excavating around a spring or seepage. Out-of-service wells of any type may pose potential safety hazards and threats to ground water quality if not correctly maintained or abandoned (decommissioned).

There may also be liability issues to consider if an old well on your property is proved to be a conduit for contaminants that reach neighboring ground water. The biggest problem is that old wells can be forgotten. Casings may deteriorate and rust and new owners or property developers can build over the old well site or unknowingly create a hazardous land use. For example, wastes associated with stables, chicken houses, dumps, etc., that are located over an old out-of-service well hole may flow straight down to the aquifer.

In an area where wells penetrate more than one water-bearing layer, contaminants may reach the ground water zone of the old well and then travel on to other portions of the aquifer. If the contamination connects with another abandoned well, it could impact other aquifers and threaten operating wells and water supply sources. Abandoned dug wells do not typically lead to contamination risk for deep aquifers, but their wide diameter, usually 3 to 5 feet, creates a physical safety hazard for construction equipment in addition to a danger to people and animals that may be injured falling into the well.

Landowners should find the location of any old or out-of-service wells. 

Clues to the location of these wells include:


  • Pipes sticking out of the ground
  • Small buildings that may have been a well house
  • Depressions in the ground
  • The presence of concrete vaults or pits (perhaps covered by lumber or metal plates)
  • Out-of-use windmills (wind pumps) are likely to be located near an old well.


Other clues and information can be obtained from:


  • Old maps, plans, and property title documents
  • Information from neighbors
  • Additions to an old home (in the past, wells were commonly constructed in basements or under porches to keep the water pumps from freezing and to ease access in the winter.)


Water utility history: What was the source of water for your home before utility water was available?

Once a well is determined to have no current or potential future use, a water well contractor should be contacted to give advice about the most appropriate well decommission method. The water well professional will have knowledge of well decommissioning code requirements. Wells should be sealed from the bottom up. In most cases, only well contractors have the right equipment to do this. Any pumps, pipes, related equipment, or blockage should be removed from the well so that it may be filled in and sealed properly.

Approved backfilling and well sealing procedures vary from state to state. They generally require the use of special sealing material, usually cement-bentonite grout or bentonite clay chips. The use of straight Portland cement is usually discouraged because cement shrinks in volume during curing, which creates very small fractures and gaps through which water may continue to penetrate.

In most cases, homeowners are required to notify their local Department of Environmental Protection or Water Quality Division to document the decommissioning of the well. Homeowners are urged to contact these environmental agencies to learn what procedures are required in their region.

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At Priceless, we are here to not only serve you, but to also help answer your questions.  Here is some information and links to help you become a more informed well owner.  


Click here to download our Water Well Reference Manual.


Water Well History - for those with curious minds.


Here is a video on how a water well is constructed by the American Groundwater Trust:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K6V450StO4&feature=related

To ensure we are able to provide you with the best information available, most of this information comes directly from the Environmental Protection Agency.


  • Basic Information - Learn about the types of drinking water wells and guidelines for proper construction.
  • Where You Live - Find information about private drinking water wells in your region or state.
  • Frequent Questions -This page answers questions you may have about your well water.
  • Human Health - Learn about health risks associated with drinking water wells.
  • Partnerships - Several organizations are working to keep private drinking water wells safe.
  • What You Can Do - Learn how to do your part in keeping your drinking water well safe.
  • Publications -Download or order copies of brochures, booklets, posters, reports, and multi-media publications.
  • Related Links - Link to web sites with additional information on private drinking water wells.
  • Glossary - Look up unfamiliar terms in EPA’s electronic glossary.


FAQs

Regular water well system maintenance is important. Knowing and practicing the basics of regular well maintenance can reduce risks to your water supply and prevent costly and inconvenient breakdowns.

Click on the topics below to learn the basics about water well system maintenance.


  • Annual Checkup
  • Homeowner's Checklist
  • Water Pressure
  • Restoring Flow through Water Well Rehabilitation
  • Iron Biofouling/Iron Bacteria
  • Old, Unused Wells

Well Maintenance