Plumbing failure should always be addressed by a licensed well professional. The importance of water quality monitoring and appropriate well maintenance is required to assure drinking water standards and supply into the future. All well systems are vulnerable to mechanical failure which may also contribute to additional contamination problems within the well system. The most common water supply well system failure in Arizona is caused by dropping groundwater elevations in our water supply. The first sign of system failure is the build-up of sediment in tanks, pipes, and plumbing fixtures. The pump itself will grind to a stop and will need to be replaces if the well continues to pump gritty sands. Always use an Arizona licensed well driller and pump installer when a well is installed or the system is serviced.
Be aware of the geology of your aquifer. Know that a well installed in consolidated (fractured) rock is more vulnerable to contaminant transport, whereas an unconsolidated aquifer retains more water filtering capacity. In other words, if a known contaminant release occurs in your neighborhood, the geology of your aquifer may protect your water supply, or may make your supply more vulnerable to contamination.
Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, degreasers, fertilizer, pesticides, kerosene, and motor oil away from your well head. Do not spill or discard any liquids in your yard. Instead, reuse them or take them to a recycling center.
Periodically check the well cover or well cap to ensure it is in good repair. Do not allow surface water to puddle near your well; if necessary construct berms around the well to divert surface runoff away from the well head.
Always maintain separation between your well and buildings, septic systems, chemical storage facilities, garages, or car maintenance areas. Your professional contractor will know the rules on appropriate distances for new construction.
Do not dispose of chemicals in your septic system, and read the label of any cleaners or additives advertised for septic systems. De-greasers contain industrial solvents that persist in the environment and may seep into the aquifer.
Do not allow water to siphon back into your well. Install a back-flow preventer on outdoor hoses. When mixing pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals do not put the hose inside the tank or container. The best way to prevent backflow is to leave an air space between the hose and the contents of the container.
When landscaping, keep the top of the well at least one foot above the ground. Slope the ground away from your well for proper drainage.
Be careful when working or mowing around your well. A damaged casing could jeopardize the sanitary protection of your well. Do not pile landscaping or construction materials near your well.
Be aware of changes in your well, the area around your well, or the smell, taste, or color of your water.
Monitor the sediment accumulation in your toilet tank. If the sediment is soft and does not feel gritty if rubbed between your fingers, this is not of concern unless you notice a significant increase in volume. If the sediment is gritty, or if you notice sand in the tank, contact a licensed well pump installer.
If the flow rate slows and you have not observed any sediment, scale build-up may be sealing the well screen or blocking the sand pack. A common iron bacteria or slime may also be growing on your well screen, causing a biofilm to build up (biofouling) that clogs the screen. A licensed well driller will be able to inspect your well with a down-hole video camera to diagnose the problem and rehabilitate your well. Typical methods to rehabilitate a well include using chemicals to dissolve incrusting materials, cleaning the well with a brush attached to a drilling rig, high pressure jetting and surging to dislodge fine materials and open the gravel pack. In a bedrock aquifer exhibiting reduced flow, the contractor may inject water at extreme pressures to induce more fracturing of the rock.
An annual well maintenance check, including water quality testing, is recommended. The water quality should be checked any time there is a change in taste, odor, or appearance, or anytime a water supply system (such as pump replacement) is serviced.
Keep your well records in a safe place: These records include the construction report (well log), as well as any water well system maintenance and water testing results.
When your well has come to the end of its serviceable life (usually 20 to 30 years), have a licensed water well contractor assess your system. You may need to have your well properly decommissioned and a new well installed. If your well is to be abandoned your licensed water well contractor will be required to follow specific well abandonment procedures and report the change of well status to the ADWR. If groundwater elevations have dropped and air is entering your system, you may need to have your pump lowered, or the existing well deepened.