What to Do If The Well Quantity Fails

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Buying a Home With a Well

So what happens if you have found your dream home, test the well, and fails? Don’t despair hope is not lost yet. There are ways you can effectively fix a well that has failed the quantity test.

Two common methods of fixing well quantity issues are:

  • Drilling a new well – You will find a new location on the lot and put an entirely new well system into the ground. The goal, of course, is to hit a good water source. Drilling a new well can be expensive. The cost of drilling a new well can vary substantially. Determining factors include where you are located, the conditions of the soils and how deep the well needs to be to generate a constant supply of water. Plan on spending anywhere from $5,000-$15,000 drilling a new well.
  • Hydrofracking – Hydrofracking is another method to fix water quantity issues with your well. The process involves injecting high-pressure water via the drilled well into the rock formations surrounding it. The point of hydrofracturing is to widen fractures in the bedrock and extend them further into the formation to increase the network of water-bearing fissures supplying water to the well.

Quite often hydro-fracking will be successful, and you will not need to drill a new well. However, it is only suitable for wells getting their water supply from water moving through fractures and fissures in existing bedrock.

The property should have at least an acre or two if it has a well.

If the property has a well, then it might also have a septic system – which processes the waste produced by the home.

Septic systems are almost certain to fail given enough time, which usually means waste is leaking out of the system and into the ground. If there is less than an acre of property, the well and septic system is probably close enough that the septic system leak will contaminate the well.

In Massachusetts and probably many other states, wells have to be located a significant distance from a septic system for this exact reason. Replacing septic systems can be costly, so make certain you do an inspection when buying a house that has one.

Only Buy a Home With a Drilled Well

A drilled well is built with special equipment and typically goes down 100 feet or more. At the least, a drilled well will be over 40 feet deep in most cases. A drilled well is usually easy to recognize because there will be a pipe sticking up out of the ground at least a foot or more, with a thick cap on the end of it.

Most homes will have drilled wells, but occasionally you will run across a home with a dug or bored well. Such wells are much less reliable and more prone to contamination. You do not want anything other than a drilled well.

Ask About The Age of The Well

If the owner does not know the well’s age, the well inspection should give some clear signs. The average lifespan of a well is 30-50 years, although they can last longer or shorter depending on different circumstances.

If the well you are buying is over 20 years old, you should at least factor in replacing the parts that commonly fail into your home buying budget. If the well is 15 years old or older, you should probably consider budgeting replacement parts such as a pump or well pressure tank.

It is quite common for well pumps to last around ten years or so.

The Well and The Septic System Should Be at Least 100 Feet Apart.

As discussed above, the septic system can leak, and that leakage can make its way into your well water. A good general rule is that each system should be separated from each other by 100 feet or more.

If you come across a home where the septic system is quite close to the well, it is best to avoid buying the home. This, however, would be rare, as most municipalities do not allow such clear violations.

Well inspections are typically done by the board of health before an occupancy permit is granted for a new home.

The Well Cap Should be Uphill or on Level Ground.

All the contaminants that fall on the ground, like oil and grease from your driveway, or manure from livestock, will flow downhill and can contaminate a well where water pools on the ground. You want your well to be located on a level surface or uphill so that contaminants do not accumulate on top of it.

Well inspections conducted by a professional will often provide any action necessary to rectify this kind of issue.

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Do you need help with your water system? 

If you need well repairs, a well inspection, a well drilled, or any of the other well and water system related services we provide, you can email us 24 hours a day at service@jkawelldrilling.com, or call us at (360) 684-1932 (office hours are Monday-Friday, 730AM - 300PM).

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