Private wells provide drinking water for many people in western Washington, but most wells are not maintained properly. It is recommended that they have and annual check up for bacteria or anytime there is a change in odor, appearance or taste. Water tests may include coliform bacteria, nitrates, iron, manganese, water hardness, sulfides and others. If there is a significant change in these levels, there may be an indication of changes in the water table. The well's flow should be checked to determine output, pump checks including amperage, voltage and proper grounding. Have the pressure tank and pressure switch checked too. The company performing these checks should provide you a detailed report on all conditions, recommendations and lab results. Be sure to keep this information in a safe place to provide ongoing information to monitor for any changes.
Don't put hoses onto mixing containers for pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals as this can allow these chemicals to be drawn into your water supply. Use care when adding mulch or other ground covers always maintain 12 inches of clearance from the ground to the well head. Be careful with mowers and other yard equipment to prevent damaging your casing or cap. Keep snow, leaves or other debris from the area around the well. All these can lead to contamination.
Other tips for well owners include keeping hazardous materials away from your well such as gasoline, paints, thinners, and pesticides. Make sure your well is not located too close to buildings or septic systems. Keep your septic properly maintained by having your tank pumped regularly and drain field checked.
Well Shocking (from the state of Maine Dept of Health)
"Frequently, bacteria can be introduced during the well drilling process, installation of the pump system, subsequent servicing of the well pump, pipe repairs, storage tank replacement, or an inadequate well cap installation allowing vermin and insects access to the well casing. Any cause or causes for contamination should be fully investigated prior to shock chlorination, since contamination will likely reoccur if the cause is not addressed." Read the entire article here.