You just bought a home with an old residential well, or maybe you installed one decades ago. It’s nearly guaranteed that an old well, especially one that isn’t maintained, doesn’t abide by the latest regulations and best practices designed to keep your drinking water safe. Should you have a new well installed or revamp the old one? It depends, and a reputable well services company can tell you the best approach for both your safety and budget. In some cases, you can save a bundle by rehabilitating.
For starters, make sure to get your water tested. If it comes back contaminated, take the time to understand why. What are the contaminants? Poor water quality is most often caused by a leak, low-quality aquifer or a bad location (such as a shallow well downhill from a livestock farm). Obviously, a leak usually will be an easier fix than a bad location. However, no matter what the test results, it’s always a good idea to get an old well sterilized if you’re thinking about rehabbing it. This is often done via chlorination from a pro who knows the exact chemical cocktail to use.
An Oldie but Goodie?
An abandoned well might have gotten uncovered, be missing wiring, have a broken pump or other problem. The cost of fixing such messes varies, depending on the severity of the damage, the materials necessary to fix it and the age/type of the well. With these issues, you need to make extra sure that the water you may eventually pump will be safe.
A test that offers an exact bacteria count (and not solely a pass/fail result) is best. Once shocked (or tested), re-shock for the latest results. If you’re getting solid water flow but still not a passing grade, it’s likely due to contamination from a leak or a too-shallow well that needs to be deeper (which is often more budget-friendly than drilling a new well).
Are You Well Off?
Many well experts recommend installing a temporary well pump even if the existing one is in good working order to ensure the pump isn’t playing a role in test results. After it’s installed, flush out any water from the well’s casing, wash it and test the flow/recovery rate. This provides the most accurate testing results.
Remember that simply looking at an old well rarely gives a non-pro enough information to decide if it’s worth saving or not. Sometimes a well looks worse off than it is, and it’s actually easier to rehab than you think. Many factors are in play, such as the condition of plumbing fixtures, drain piping materials, well pump valves and switches, the well’s static head and more.
If you have an older well, don’t give up on it just yet. Call Mike Zimmerman Well Services for a consultation and to discuss options for residential well rehabilitation.