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Groundwater is the source of drinking water for many people.  

Get your water tested any time there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or anytime the system is serviced. More...

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- by J. Pillo

Groundwater is the water that fills cracks and other openings in beds of rocks and sand.  About 1/3 of Connecticut’s population obtains their water from ground water wells.  Ground water quality in our area is generally very good.

The ground is an excellent mechanism for filtering out particulate matter such as leaves, soil, and bugs.  However, because Connecticut's major aquifer systems are shallow (typically less than 300 feet deep, with the water table within 50 feet of the land surface) they are susceptible to contamination. Underground water can get contaminated from industrial, domestic, and agricultural chemicals applied to the ground surface. The most common water quality problem in rural areas is bacterial contamination from septic tanks. Excess nitrogen near agricultural areas can also be a problem. Shallow wells can be more at risk than deeper, drilled wells.

The American Ground Water Trust recommends that all homeowners have their well water tested annually by a certified laboratory.  Minimum testing should include coliform bacteria, nitrate and pH (acidity). If the pH is below 7.0, also test for lead, especially in homes built before 1987.  If the well is near an operational or abandoned gas station or buried fuel storage, they recommend testing for volatile organic carbons. 

The National Ground Water Association also suggests you have your well equipment inspected annually by a licensed and/or certified water well contractor. This inspection, along with water testing, will assure your well equipment is sanitary and meets local code requirements.

Steps to Maintain Your Well

  • Keep hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizers, pesticides and motor oil, far away from your well.
  • Maintain a “clean zone” of at least 50 feet between your well and any kennels or livestock operations.
  • Maintain proper separation between your well and waste systems. In Connecticut, the separation must be at least 75 feet.
  • Periodically check the well cover or well cap on top of the casing to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. The seal should keep out insects and rodents. (If you’ve ever had a squirrel or chipmunk drown in your well, you will know why this is so important.)
  • Keep your well records in a safe place. These should include annual water well system maintenance and water testing results.
  • Get your water tested any time there is a change in taste, odor or appearance, or anytime the system is serviced.


Originally published in The Putnam Town Crier, March 2003

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