It's time for your well to get a check-up.
Stay Well by Checking Your Well!
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the Montana
Watershed Coordination Council encourage all well owners to conduct
an annual water well "check-up" that includes a wellhead and
pressure tank inspection. Ground water is the primary source of
drinking water for most Montanans. If youíre not on a public water
supply or utility, in practical terms youíre the manager of your own
small water system.
Private water wells require homeowners to take more control of their
water quality. Well owners have a responsibility to themselves,
their family, and their neighbors to protect their ground water from
contamination and ensure that their water system is providing good
quality drinking water. Conducting an annual well check-up of your
water system is an important step you can take to ensure the proper
operation of your well. Through a check-up you can prolong your
systemís years of service and you can monitor water quality.
Some of the following suggestions were assembled by the Gallatin
Local Water Quality District, Montana DEQ, and the National
An annual well check-up should include:
- As a minimum, test your water for coliform
bacteria and nitrates. You can also test for any additional
contaminants that may be specific for your area. You should also
have your water tested if there is a change in your waterís taste,
odor, or appearance; after the well system is serviced; or after a
flooding event. Information about how to collect samples and where
to send them can be provided by your closest water quality district,
county sanitarian, or by the DEQ. You should file and
all test results for future reference.
- Inspect your well parts to ensure they are in good repair. Look for
problems such as cracked, corroded or damaged well casing or
settling and cracking of the ground surface around the well casing.
If any of these problems are present, your well can become a conduit
for contamination the ground water.
- Check to make sure your well cap is not broken or missing. If it is,
replace it with a new one. If your well does not have a sanitary cap
(a two-part cap with a rubber seal), it is recommended that you
replace it with a sanitary well cap.
- Inspect your pressure tank and associated plumbing by looking for things
like leaks or corrosion, which could lead to future problems.
- Survey the area around your well to make sure there are no hazardous
materials (paint, motor oil, household chemicals, etc.) nearby which
could spill and contaminate your well water.
For Good Housekeeping:
- NEVER dump hazardous materials on your property and NEVER pour them
down the drain. If youíre on a private well, youíre probably also on
a private septic system. These systems do recharge groundwater and
may not remove some chemicals before the water is discharged to
- Dispose of old or unwanted prescription drugs and over the counter
medications by removing them from their original containers, mixing
them with an undesirable substance (e.g. coffee grounds, kitty
litter), recontainerizing them, and
throwing them into your daily trash. Another method is to render
illegible any personal information on medication containers, add
water and other undesirable substances to the container, then seal
the container thoroughly with duct tape before placing into the
trash. These are the best disposal methods we have now, but they
are not ideal. You can also check with your local pharmacy to see if
they have an unwanted drug take back program.
There are several sources of information on proper well maintenance,
water testing, and other local ground water issues.
For more information, you can contact:
Water Protection Bureau
Montana Dept of Quality
Montana Department of Agriculture