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Many residents in Marion County must rely upon a wellfort heir domestic water uses. Roughly 500,000 citizens in Oregon use a household well and are required to protect, test and purify the water to keep their family safe. Having a basic knowledge of the mechanics and issues related to a well will assist property owners with identifying and solving problems when they arise.

Locate an Existing Well

If you know or suspect a well is the source of your water, locate the well. It most likely will be a 3 to 6 inch pipe sticking out of the ground near the home. You should also locate the pipe that connects the well to your house so you do not disturb it. The direct path from where the pipe enters the house to the well is mostly likely where the pipe is located. Private locating companies can assist in locating the pipe and the well.

Well Log

Well logs are kept by the Oregon Water Resources Department to track the current state of wells, even dry wells. Well logs can be used to get information about ground water in an area prior to drilling a well or buying property. The well logs contain information on: how often wells were deepened, how much water is being produced, and water depth. Doing research and having a plan prior to buying property should help minimize unanticipated surprises.

Well Test

It is smart to have well water tested prior to purchasing a home. Chemical Tests are recommended to be done every 2 – 3 years. Biological Tests should be done yearly.

Owners of a permitted or certified well are responsible for having a Pump Test every 10 years. This test can be administered by a well driller or a pump vendor. The information gained should be submitted to the OWRD for planning purposes.

Well Performance

In order to evaluate the performance of a well, baseline information is necessary. This information can assist in determining well maintenance and rehabilitation scheduling.

  • What is the static water level in the well prior to use?
  • What is the pumping rate after a specified period of pumping?
  • What is the water level in the well after a specified period of pumping? Is the water clear and free of sand and silt?
  • How rapidly does the water level recover after pumping?

Common Well Issues

Yearly maintenance and upkeep of a well is good practice for prolonging its life and keeping drinking water safe. Yearly water tests will provide the needed information for identifying possible health concerns related to water quality.

Water Quality: All ground water contains some gases and minerals; acceptability and desirability of these materials is a matter of personal preference. Be aware that some problems invisible to the naked eye, such as hardness or high bacterial counts, do require treatment, while other issues that are more obvious may not be detrimental to one’s health and do not need to be treated.

Well Stops Working: First, check the power source; has a fuse blown or the pump died? The worst case scenario is that the well is dry. Contact a professional well driller if this occurs.

What to look for:

  • No cracks or holes in casing
  • Never any surface water at base
  • Cap is secure
  • Vent pipe is screened
  • Casing extends 12” above ground
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