Well Water System Owner’s Guide

Residential Groundwater Systems

One of the most important elements of any new or existing household is the provision of a safe, potable, supply of water for drinking, cooking, and washing. In most rural and many suburban areas potable water is from a groundwater source. The quality and quantity of a groundwater system is dependent upon the choices you, the homeowner, make. Planning your groundwater system must be done with careful thought, and should be done with the help of a licensed groundwater professional. Always consider, not only present, but future requirements and needs when designing your groundwater system. A groundwater supply must never be taken for granted. You should explore all options relating to your personalized groundwater system.

What Options Do I Have?
Grounwater is found in geological formations called aquifers. In some cases, a well water system can encounter several aquifers. The local licensed groundwater professional has historical data available that will provide vital information as to the quality, as well as the expected quantity of water found at various depths. The depth of the water well, selection of the pumping equipment, water tank size, and water needs of the household must be determined prior to construction. The size of the home, number of water fixtures, personal habits and projected future water needs are all important elements that help in the design of a groundwater system. The size and depth of a well will have a long-term impact on the reliability of a groundwater system. The water pressure tank must be sized according to the gallon per minute flow rate of the pump. All the information you need, as well as the options available can be provided by a licensed groundwater professional.
How Do I Select A Groundwater Contractor?
Any construction will only be as sound as the people who perform the work. A groundwater contractor should never be selected by price alone. There are a number of issues you should keep in mind when selecting a groundwater contractor:
  1. How long has the company been in business?
  2. Will the contractor supply references?
  3. Is the contractor a member of the state and/or national trade association?
  4. Will the contractor evaluate the system before making recommendations?
  5. Is the contractor abreast of modern construction techniques? Does he/she regularly attend seminars or other educational events?
  6. Is the contractor thorough in his/her explanation of all the options available to you?
  7. Will the contractor provide a written estimate and a formal contract?
  8. Will the contractor provide a certificate of insurance before you sign a contract and before any work is begun?
  9. Is the contractor licensed?
Groundwater – A Safe Natural Source
In illinois, groundwater for domestic use is generally bacteriologically safe in its natural state. All surface bodies of water are unsafe until chemicals are added to neutralize bacterial contamination. In a groundwater system, the addition of new fixtures, piping or plumbing work may introduce bacteria into the groundwater system. If a water well becomes contaminated, a disinfection procedure will, in most cases, return the water system to a safe potable condition. Disinfetion of a groundwater system is done by introducing chlorine into your entire system and allowing the chlorine to remain in the system for a specific time frame (see Well Chlorination & Disinfection for more information). Afterwards, the chlorinated water is systematically flushed from the system and a water test can be taken. Disinfection of a groundwater system should only be done by a licensed groundwater professional to assure accurate, safe results.
Groundwater systems should also be tested for nitrates. The increased use of fertilizers has, in some cases, caused elevated levels of nitrates in groundwater. Excessive nitrate levels in groundwater can be harmful to infants. Be sure to consult our local health department if you have any questions regarding nitrate levels in groundwater.
Routine Maintenance For My Groundwater System
Many water well systems operate trouble-free for many years. However, an annual groundwater system check-up is recommended. An annual check-up can insure the integrity of your water system and can sometimes locate minor mechanical problems that may be easily repaired before they become more costly system breakdowns. It is also recommended that a water sample be taken annually to assure that the groundwater system remains free of bacterial contamination. As components of a groundwater system age they become more apt to cause problems with pressure, water quality and system reliability. A licensed groundwater professional will know best how often a system should be served and to what extent that service should be. Here is what should be inspected annually.

Annual Water Well System Check List

  • Does current water well system meet latest code?
  • Is the well head secure?
    • Proper Well cap?
    • Electrical conduit secure?
    • Well casing a minumum of 8 inches above grade?
  • Is water pressure tank in proper working order?
    • Air to water ratio correct?
    • Any fittings leaking?
    • Pressure Gauge operating properly?
    • Tank recycling properly?
  • Is water well pump working properly?
    • Does water well pump meet current water well code?
    • Does pump draw correct amperage?
    • Does pump motor ohm properly?
    • Does pump deliver adequate GPM?

Information provided by:

Illinois Association of Groundwater Professionals
P.O. Box 5378
River Forest, IL 60305
Phone: (800) 990-2209
Fax: (708) 386-1567