Sanitary well cap photo: Bryan Swistock, Penn State
It is recommended to have a private water supply tested every 14 months for E. coli and coliform bacteria. Every three years, additional testing is recommended for pH and total dissolved solids as well as tests related to local land uses. What may sometimes be overlooked, however, is regular maintenance of the well itself to assure that it is working properly.
Water wells should be inspected annually for obvious signs of damage or contamination. Be sure the area within 100 feet around the well is clear of debris or items that might pollute the water supply. This 100 foot area is the immediate wellhead protection area for you your water supply. Never apply fertilizers, pesticides or chemicals to this area and keep pet and livestock waste away.
Check for any signs of cracks in the casing, exposed or frayed wires, and be sure that a sanitary or vermin-proof well cap is in place.
Get the well professionally inspected by a water well contractor every ten years. Keep all records related to the water well including:
- Water well completion report or log (if you have it) which should include information such as water well depth, date drilled, construction (including casing specifications, grouting and screen), and water well yield or flow rate in gallons per minute (gpm)
- Water quality test reports
- Past inspection reports
- Invoices from work done by water well contractors (including pump replacement)
- Water treatment equipment warranties, invoices and manuals
To find some of this information you can check with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) Pennsylvania Groundwater Information System (PaGWIS) or contact a local well driller.
Information from the Extension fact sheet: Water Well Maintenance and Rehabilitation