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Drilling A Water Well? Where Should You Begin?

by Harvie Simms

Whether the recent water crisis in Flint has you concerned about the quality of your public water supply or you're just interested in reducing your water bills by going off the grid, you may be considering drilling a well on your property. This can often be a major undertaking, costing thousands of dollars to construct a 100-foot deep well -- therefore, you'll want to make sure your well can hold adequate (and pure) water before financing this investment. Read on to learn more about the preparation steps you'll need to take before having a well constructed on your property.

What should you do before ground is broken on your new well?

Before constructing a well, your contracting company will need to take water samples from a variety of locations around your property to determine where the best water supply is located. It's best not to get attached to the idea of having your well on a certain part of your property until these samples are taken, as you may find that the water supply beneath your desired area is inadequate to supply water for your entire household. 

These samples can also be tested to ensure that your future well water is free from fertilizer, heavy metals, and other contaminants. Although you can always install an indoor water filter or softener to help remove contaminants from your well water, ensuring your supply is free from toxins at the source can reduce your need for filtration and ensure that you always have a supply of healthy, clean water at the ready.

How deep should your well be?

Most residential wells are at least 100 feet deep. If you live in an area that is prone to seasonal droughts (or has been in a drought for some time already), you may want to consider building your well 300 to 500 feet deep to ensure you're always able to pump water from the aquifer.

Constructing a deeper well than you think you need can be a good hedge against future changes in weather patterns. A very deep well can have the pump placed just a few meters below the water level to ensure constant operation. If the water level in the aquifer supplying this well water drops significantly, you'll be able to lower your well pump until it is once again several meters below the water level. This prevents you from incurring the expense of deepening your well during a drought with just a slightly higher up-front investment.