|(NAPSI)-If you ever get water from a well, you should know there's more to it than just, well, a well. In fact, a water well is really a water well system because it consists of numerous components-many of which can affect water quality if not well maintained.|
What's In A Well
These components are designed to protect water from contaminants that are harmful to health or adversely affect the water's appearance, taste or odor. They include:
The Well Casing: This is the tubular structure that is placed in the drilled well to maintain the opening. Along with grout, the casing confines the groundwater to its zone underground and can prevent contaminants from mixing with the water.
The most common materials for well casings are carbon steel, plastic (most commonly PVC), and stainless steel. Different geologic formations dictate which type of casing can be used. Residents in some areas have a choice between steel and PVC, both of which have advantages.
PVC is lightweight, resistant to corrosion, and relatively easy for contractors to install. However, it is not as strong and not as resistant to heat as steel. Steel, though, is susceptible to corrosion, can have scale buildup, and can cost more than PVC.
If the casing is sufficiently corroded or breaks, or if the grouting fails, contaminants could enter the well and compromise your water quality. Your best protection is to get a periodic water well system inspection to identify any such problems.
The Well Cap: This goes on top of the well casing. It should fit snugly so debris, insects or small animals can't find their way into the well system. The well cap should be bolted or locked so it cannot be easily removed.
Well caps are usually aluminum or thermoplastic and have a vented screen so the pressure difference between the inside and outside of the well casing will be equalized when water is pumped from the well.
A cracked or loose well cap could allow outside contaminants, including bacteria via insects or vermin, into the well. Well owners should visually inspect their well cap from time to time and contact a water well system professional if a problem is detected.
The Pitless Adapter: This connector is used in places where freezing occurs. It's installed underground below the frost line to provide a sanitary seal between the well casing and the water line running to the house. If this seal is compromised, it could allow bacteria or other contamination into the well. A water well system contractor can determine whether a faulty pitless adapter is contributing to such water quality problems.
The Well Screen: This prevents excess sediment from entering the well. The screen attaches to the bottom of the casing, letting water move through the well while keeping out most gravel and sand.
There are assorted styles of screens, and a water well system professional can determine which type is best suited to your well. The wrong type of screen or a deteriorated screen could allow sediment, sand and gravel into your well and your water.
The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) advises household well owners to maintain their well systems, including these important components, to protect drinking water quality and health.
For further information about well systems, water quality, and groundwater protection, visit www.WellOwner.org.
Whether you get great water out of your well depends, in part, on the sum of its parts.